The present study investigated avoidant attachment orientation differences in emotion processing biases under different conditions of attachment schema activation (subliminal, supraliminal or no-activation). After completing a dimensional assessment of adult attachment, 97 participants were randomly assigned to one of the three activating conditions and subsequently performed an Emotional Stroop Task including attachment and emotion positive and negative words. Consistently, in the supraliminal activation condition, avoidant participants demonstrated higher interference of attachment-related and emotional stimuli compared to the no-activation condition; they focused on the task-relevant processes (colour naming), ignoring the semantic meaning of the words (lower interference). The results of the present study suggest that avoidant individuals use both pre-emptive and post-emptive strategies under different activating conditions in the processing of emotion information. The results also highlight interpretation of latencies in the Emotional Stroop Task for avoidant participants.
Andriopoulou, P., & Kafetsios, K. (2015). Avoidant Attachment and the Processing of Emotion Information: Selective Attention or Cognitive Avoidance. Journal of Relationships Research, 6, . https://doi.org/10.1017/jrr.2015.2