The purpose of this review is to evaulate how attentional processes that are vital cognitive mechanisms for survival are affected due to threat-related stimuli by investigating studies which address the emotion of fear and attentional bias. Individuals experience three dimensions of emotions: bodily excitations (arousal), expressive behaviors caused by bodily excitations and awareness of emotions. The increase of arousal level accompanying emotions may affect the range/variety of cues which organisms pay attention to. In this review, beside the evolutionarily relevant threats (snake, spider, etc.), modern threats (gun, knife, etc.) and fears based on learning were investigated. At the same time, the role of threat-related stimuli encountered during situations involving attentional blindness and in real life (pain, epidemic disease, bomb explosion, etc.) was included. By analysing studies focusing on individual differences, it was investigated how attentional bias to threat-related stimuli may be affected by factors like age, sex, culture, emotinal intelligence, personality traits, loneliness, and anxiety level. Results from the investigated studies has shown that attentional bias is stronger for threat-related stimuli compared to neutral stimuli.
Fear, attentional bias, threat-related stimuli, emotions and attention