Could this finding mean that once we identify a threat in the environment we zero in on it to such an extent that we actually misjudge the proximity of this threat? This may certainly help to explain the behavior of certain individuals who identify a certain group of people as their "enemies" and then view all incoming information as confirming evidence that this "rival" group's dominance is imminently upon them? This finding could also help explain the thinking process of the socially anxious--the steadfast fear and belief that critical judgment by others is omnipresent, even when given empirical evidence as proof of the opposite.
Such distorted perception certainly makes evolutionary sense. Given an actual physical threat to one's life, a human would certainly benefit from "seeing" this threat as actually being physically closer, in order to make sure that the human has enough time and resources to ensure its survival.
However, one cannot help but wonder if this once-advantageous perceptual distortion could be leading human beings into distorting their perceptions of reality and hence creating a more divisive, fearful and polarized society.