Does anxiety spring from insensitivity?

Does anxiety spring from insensitivity?

Patients who experience anxiety may not be sensitive enough, according to new research.

Flying in the face of established thought, which believes that anxious people are hypersensitive, a study at Tel Aviv University claims that individuals with anxiety are under-stimulated by materials designed to induce fear and apprehension.

As part of a study on how the brain processes fear in anxious and non-anxious individuals, researchers measuring brain activity recorded that anxious persons are less sensitive to worrying images than non-anxious people.

It is suggested that anxious people may have a deficit in their threat evaluation capabilities, causing an under-reaction to stimuli and subtle environmental changes.

Previous studies have also recorded malfunctioning threat evaluation capabilities is anxious people.

When reading people's facial expressions, patients with anxiety are believed to make quick emotional decisions, often leading to errors in judgement and unnecessary conflict.

Study co-author professor R Chris Fraley stated: "Our findings suggest that highly anxious individuals – people who are very insecure about their relationships – are more vigilant in monitoring the facial cues of others, but also make more mistakes in interpreting the emotional states behind facial expressions."

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