Title: Peer victimization predicts biased attentional processing, controlling for genetic effects
Legend: Monozygotic twin (MZ) were instructed to press a button when they saw target words and to avoid pressing a button when they saw distractor words. Using signal detection theory, we measured both a participant’s response bias to stimuli and their ability to discriminate between correct and incorrect responses. MZ twins who experienced more peer victimization were more likely to endorse any word as a target word than their cotwins.
Citation: Carroll, I. C., Planalp, E. M., Van Hulle, C. A., & Goldsmith, H. H. (in press). Peer victimization and selective attention in adolescence: Evidence from a monozygotic twin difference design. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. doi: 10.1007/s10802-019-00516-7
Abstract: Peer victimization impacts 13% of adolescents worldwide (Currie et al. 2012). Despite its prevalence and associated adverse outcomes, global cognitive processes that could be affected by peer victimization have not been thoroughly investigated. Using a monozygotic (MZ) twin difference design that rigorously controls for the influence of genetic and familial level confounders, we examined the relation between peer victimization exposure and selective attention processes during an affective go/no go task. Twins who experienced more severe peer victimization were biased towards detecting goal relevant stimuli during the task. Our findings suggest an environmentally salient relation between peer victimization and goal oriented selective attention. Future work should investigate how this process might serve to enhance or buffer risk of peer victimization exposure for developing later adverse outcomes.
About the Lab: Goldsmith’s research concerns children’s emotional development, behavioral challenges and the autism spectrum. The research incorporates perspectives of psychology, genetics, neuroscience, and developmental epidemiology. He is recognized as a leading theorist of human temperament and a key empirical contributor to the fields of developmental behavioral genetics and childhood psychopathology. Goldsmith is Principal Investigator on six external grants, an investigator in three Centers, and a faculty member on three training grants. His highly collaborative research involves many UW faculty and colleagues at other institutions. Visit the Wisconsin Twin Research lab for more information.