Although large body of research has demonstrated the attention‐grabbing nature of threat‐related stimuli, threat could also facilitate attentional processes. Previous studies suggest a linear relationship between the facilitating effect of the arousal level conveyed by threat and performance on visual search tasks. Due to the temporal competition bias favouring stimuli with higher arousal level, this could be more pronounced for shorter onset times. Here, through two experiments we aimed to disentangle the two effects by using a visual search paradigm that allowed us to separate the emotional stimuli and the cognitive task. We manipulated stimulus onset time and threat intensity. Participants saw neutral and threatening pictures as priming stimuli, and then, they had to find numbers in ascending order in a matrix array. We measured the reaction time for finding the first number, and search time for finding all the numbers. Our results showed that when the priming stimulus is presented, longer threatening pictures produced longer reaction times compared to neutral ones, which was reversed with increase in arousal. We did not find any significant effects for the shorter onset time. Further theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.