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Home Industry News Anxiety sufferers ‘can’t forget mean faces’

Anxiety sufferers ‘can’t forget mean faces’

3rd February 2009

New research has found people suffering with social anxiety disorder have difficulty overcoming a perceived personal threat, even if it is just a person looking at them angrily.

A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry today claims sufferers struggle to forget about incidents such as a random person looking at them in an apparent angry manner.

When mentally healthy adults are shown images of someone being hurt, they can put their minds at ease by telling themselves the victim will be OK and received the attention they need.

Researchers claim the same is true for when a random person looks at them in an angry way for no apparent reason. Those mentally healthy are able to dismiss any negative feelings by saying to themselves, “That guy is just having a bad day”, the authors claim.

Today’s study found that people with social anxiety, however, had a harder time shaking the image off.

“The brain areas associated with cognitive controls were recruited more intensively by the healthier adults compared to anxiety patients,” Stanford psychology researcher Philippe Goldin said.

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