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Carlson takes Peter White Scholar Award

MARQUETTE — Josh Carlson, associate professor of Psychological Science, is this year’s Peter White Scholar Award recipient at Northern Michigan University. The funding supports an additional testing component related to his research on the neuroscience of anxiety disorders and the impacts of a treatment called attention bias modification. Carlson’s project previously secured a prestigious $350,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Anxiety disorders are not occasional bouts of worry or fear. They endure and can worsen over time, potentially interfering with job performance, schoolwork and relationships. A cardinal feature of anxiety is an elevated attentional bias to threatening information.

If an individual with anxiety is shown side-by-side computer images of two distinct facial expressions–one fearful and one neutral–she will typically fixate on the fearful image.

But if a dot flashes behind the neutral image, it may redirect her focus. And if this dot-probe task is done repeatedly over six weeks, there appears to be a decline in anxiety symptoms for some subjects.nges in brain activity.

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