Priming the Secure Attachment Schema: Effects on Emotion Information Processing


  • Panoraia Andriopoulos Psychology Department, Southampton Solent University
  • Konstantinos Kafetsios Psychology Department, University of Crete


adult attachment organization, information processing, security priming


The present study examined the effects of secure schema activation on selective attention towards attachment-related and emotional information. Seventy two participants were randomly allocated into two conditions–subliminal priming of mental representations of supportive attachment figures (a Picasso sketch of a mother holding a baby and looking into his eyes) and a no priming condition followed by an administration of a dot probe task that included positive and negative attachment-related and emotion words. The results showed that the activation of the secure prime in conjunction with chronic attachment orientations affected the processing of positive and negative attachment-unrelated emotional information. Results highlight relationships between higher-order processes of the attachment system (attachment schema activation) with early stage information processing (selective attention) as assessed by the dot probe task. Methodological issues are discussed with reference to the priming method used and the traditional version of the dot-probe task.