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A computational account of threat-related attentional bias

Wise, T; Michely, J; Dayan, P; Dolan, RJ; (2019) A computational account of threat-related attentional bias. PLoS Comput Biol , 15 (10) , Article e1007341. 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007341. Green open access

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Abstract

Visual selective attention acts as a filter on perceptual information, facilitating learning and inference about important events in an agent’s environment. A role for visual attention in reward-based decisions has previously been demonstrated, but it remains unclear how visual attention is recruited during aversive learning, particularly when learning about multiple stimuli concurrently. This question is of particular importance in psychopathology, where enhanced attention to threat is a putative feature of pathological anxiety. Using an aversive reversal learning task that required subjects to learn, and exploit, predictions about multiple stimuli, we show that the allocation of visual attention is influenced significantly by aversive value but not by uncertainty. Moreover, this relationship is bidirectional in that attention biases value updates for attended stimuli, resulting in heightened value estimates. Our findings have implications for understanding biased attention in psychopathology and support a role for learning in the expression of threat-related attentional biases in anxiety.

Type: Article
Title: A computational account of threat-related attentional bias
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007341
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007341
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083860
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