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

Damjanovic, L, Williot, A and Blanchette, I (2019) Is it dangerous? The role of an emotional visual search strategy and threat‐relevant training in the detection of guns and knives. British Journal of Psychoogy. ISSN 0007-1269

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Damjanovic, L. , Williot, A. and Blanchette, I. (2019), Is it dangerous? The role of an emotional visual search strategy and threat‐relevant training in the detection of guns and knives. Br J Psychol. doi:10.1111/bjop.12404, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12404. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences, 1503 Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 09:40
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 09:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/bjop.12404
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10914

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