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2021-08-09 - Colloque/Présentation - communication orale - Anglais - 40 page(s)

Blekic Wivine , Rossignol Mandy , "Exploring the hypervigilance symptom in PTSD: when eye-tracking comes to use." in Annual Congress of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies (EABCT), Belfast, Ireland, 2021

  • Codes CREF : Psychopathologie (DI3513), Neurosciences cognitives (DI4296), Neuropsychologie (DI4218), Sciences cognitives (DI4290), Psychologie cognitive (DI4211)
  • Unités de recherche UMONS : Psychologie cognitive et Neuropsychologie (P325)
  • Instituts UMONS : Institut de recherche en sciences et technologies du langage (Langage), Institut des Sciences et Technologies de la Santé (Santé)
  • Centres UMONS : Mind & Health (CREMH)

Abstract(s) :

(Anglais) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as a prolonged maladaptive response to traumatic events. Ehlers and Clark (2000) have allowed groundbreaking understanding of cognitive processes involved in the development and maintenance of chronic PTSD. According to those authors, survivors are constantly confronted with a feeling of current threat, which arises from pre-, peri- and post-traumatic behavioral and cognitive mechanisms. Drawing on this theory, a well-established cognitivo-behavioral therapy was developed and received tremendous research support. However, one important symptom (i.e., hypervigilance) seems to be highly resistant to therapy, and did not reach unanimity among researchers. Hypervigilance is defined as the heightened tendency to allocate attentional resources to threatening stimuli in the environment and could significantly modify the phenomenology of the disorder. For example, this hypervigilance could either thrive a sustained attention on threat or a chronic avoidance of such information, leading to distinct clinical profiles. Attentional biases have been suggested to be a vulnerability marker of this hypervigilance. However, attentional research using reaction time (RT)-based paradigms and measures has yielded mixed results. Using either a dot-probe paradigm or an emotional Stroop task, some authors have shown biased attention towards threat, others revealed attention bias away from threat or lack of differences between trauma-exposed healthy participants (TEHC) and patients with PTSD. Finally, some researcher highlighted a tendency for attention to fluctuate between threat vigilance and threat avoidance among PTSD. Eye-tracking methodology has emerged to overcome the heterogeneity of RT-based tasks, striving to better delineate attentional processes. Eye-tracking technology might allow us to have a clear visualization of the pattern depicted by PTSD patients when confronted with an emotional information. The current study aimed to assess the attentional strategies deployed by PTSD and TEHC in order to correctly perform a task in which threatening information was either a distractor or a target. To this aim, 30 PTSD, 30 TEHC and 30 healthy controls performed a Face in the Crowd paradigm in which 81 matrices were presented. Each matrix comprised nine different identities presenting either the same emotion (happy, neutral, angry), or in which one identity presented a different emotion (i.e. the intruder). The participants were required to identify as quickly as they can the intruder. One-third of the matrices (i.e., 27) were target-absent trials composed of only one type of emotional expression (i.e., nine trials each of matrices that were all neutral, all happy or all angry faces). Data are currently being analyzed and are centered on (1) RT for correct trials and (2) gaze data including the number of saccades needed to find the target according to the context, the dwell time on the target according to its valence (positive, negative, neutral), as well as the increase or decrease of those variables during the task (as an indicator of avoidance). Correlational analyzes will be performed to highlight a possible link between the hypervigilance symptom and the gaze pattern depicted by the participants. Results will be discussed within recent cognitive theoretical framework.


Mots-clés :
  • (Anglais) PTSD