Is it dangerous? The role of an emotional visual search strategy and threat-relevant training in the detection of guns and knives.

TitleIs it dangerous? The role of an emotional visual search strategy and threat-relevant training in the detection of guns and knives.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuteursDamjanovic, L, Williot, A, Blanchette, I
JournalBr J Psychol
Date Published2019 Jun 12
ISSN2044-8295
Abstract

Counter-terrorism strategies rely on the assumption that it is possible to increase threat detection by providing explicit verbal instructions to orient people's attention to dangerous objects and hostile behaviours in their environment. Nevertheless, whether verbal cues can be used to enhance threat detection performance under laboratory conditions is currently unclear. In Experiment 1, student participants were required to detect a picture of a dangerous or neutral object embedded within a visual search display on the basis of an emotional strategy 'is it dangerous?' or a semantic strategy 'is it an object?'. The results showed a threat superiority effect that was enhanced by the emotional visual search strategy. In Experiment 2, whilst trainee police officers displayed a greater threat superiority effect than student controls, both groups benefitted from performing the task under the emotional than semantic visual search strategy. Manipulating situational threat levels (high vs. low) in the experimental instructions had no effect on visual search performance. The current findings provide new support for the language-as-context hypothesis. They are also consistent with a dual-processing account of threat detection involving a verbally mediated route in working memory and the deployment of a visual template developed as a function of training.

DOI10.1111/bjop.12404
Alternate JournalBr J Psychol
PubMed ID31190378
Grant List / / University of Chester International Research Excellence Award /
SQ130002 / / British Academy /
/ / Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada /
/ / Santander Universities scheme /