Gaze perception in social anxiety and social anxiety disorder

Schulze, Lars; Renneberg, Babette; Lobmaier, Janek S.
December 2013
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience;Dec2013, Vol. 7, p1
Academic Journal
Clinical observations suggest abnormal gaze perception to be an important indicator of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Experimental research has yet paid relatively little attention to the study of gaze perception in SAD. In this article we first discuss gaze perception in healthy human beings before reviewing self-referential and threat-related biases of gaze perception in clinical and non-clinical socially anxious samples. Relative to controls, socially anxious individuals exhibit an enhanced self-directed perception of gaze directions and demonstrate a pronounced fear of direct eye contact, though findings are less consistent regarding the avoidance of mutual gaze in SAD. Prospects for future research and clinical implications are discussed.


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