|dc.description.abstract||Background and objectives: Perception of trustworthiness in other people is essential for successful social interaction. Facial expressions as conveyers of feelings and intentions are an important source of this information. We investigated how social anxiety is related to biases in the judgment of faces towards un/trustworthiness depending on type of emotional expression and expressive intensity.
Methods: Undergraduates with clinical levels of social anxiety and low-anxiety controls were presented with 1-s video-clips displaying facial happiness, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, or neutrality, at various levels of emotional intensity. Participants judged how trustworthy the expressers looked like.
Results: Social anxiety was associated with enhanced distrust towards angry and disgusted expressions, and this occurred at lower intensity thresholds, relative to non-anxious controls. There was no effect for other negative expressions (sadness and fear), basically ambiguous expressions (surprise and neutral), or happy faces.
Limitations: The social anxiety and the control groups consisted of more females than males, although this gender disproportion was the same in both groups. Also, the expressive speed rate was different for the various intensity conditions, although such differences were equated for all the expressions and for both groups.
Conclusions: Individuals with high social anxiety overestimate perceived social danger even from subtle facial cues, thus exhibiting a threat-related interpretative bias in the form of untrustworthiness judgments. Such a bias is, nevertheless, limited to facial expressions conveying direct threat such as hostility and rejection. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.||es_ES