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Learning to avoid looking: Competing influences of reward on overt attentional selection

Pearson, D; Le Pelley, ME; (2020) Learning to avoid looking: Competing influences of reward on overt attentional selection. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 10.3758/s13423-020-01770-3. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Pairing a stimulus with large reward increases the likelihood that it will capture attention and eye-gaze, even when such capture has negative consequences. This suggests that a stimulus’s signalling relationship with reward (the co-occurrence of that stimulus and reward) has a powerful influence on attentional selection. In the present study, we demonstrate that a stimulus’s response relationship with reward (the reward-related consequences of attending to that stimulus) can also exert an independent, competing influence on selection. Participants completed a visual search task in which they made a saccade to a target shape to earn reward. The colour of a distractor signalled the magnitude of reward available on each trial. For one group of participants, there was a negative response relationship between making a saccade to the distractor and reward delivery: looking at the distractor caused the reward to be cancelled. For a second group, there was no negative response relationship, but an equivalent distractor–reward signalling relationship was maintained via a yoking procedure. Participants from both groups were more likely to have their gaze captured by the distractor that signalled high reward versus low reward, demonstrating an influence of the signalling relationship on attention. However, participants who experienced a negative response relationship showed a reduced influence of signal value on capture, and specifically less capture by the high-reward distractor. These findings demonstrate that reward can have a multifaceted influence on attentional selection through different, learned stimulus-reward relationships, and thus that the relationship between reward and attention is more complex than previously thought.

Type: Article
Title: Learning to avoid looking: Competing influences of reward on overt attentional selection
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3758/s13423-020-01770-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-020-01770-3
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Attentional capture, Cognitive control, Reward, Suppression
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105071
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