The role of reward in awarded attention

Ashleigh Kunde (2011). The role of reward in awarded attention Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Ashleigh Kunde
Thesis Title The role of reward in awarded attention
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Professor Roger Remington
Total pages 71
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Attending to visual stimuli associated with a high probability of procuring rewards is greatly adaptive. Exactly how reward interacts to guide visual attention is presently unclear. Currently, there are two generally accepted modes of attentional control: top-down mechanisms that allocate attention in keeping with task goals, and bottom-up mechanisms that are driven involuntarily by physically salient stimuli. Past research has supported the notion that reward enhances top-down processing by increasing motivation. In contrast, recent research has found evidence suggesting that the effect of reward on attention is independent of both top-down and bottom-up processing. Specifically, a non-salient and irrelevant stimulus that was associated with a high reward in a previous visual search task, was found to capture attention in a separate task using the same paradigm (Anderson, Laurent and Yantis, 2011). This capture was robust even when it resulted in considerable costs to current task goals. From these findings, a third value-driven model of attention has since been proposed. The current study aimed to replicate and extend these findings. Experiment 1 examined whether stimulus-value associations learned in a visual search task, would influence performance in a subsequent spatial cueing task. The aim was to investigate whether value learning was attached to objects (object hypthesis), or contexts (context hypothesis) by assessing value effects across paradigms. Experiment 2 aimed to further explore how value attaches to stimuli, by examining whether features are only rewarded if they are part of the attentional search set (explicit-reward hypothesis), or if reward attaches to all features of an attended object (implicit-reward hypothesis). High-value cues were found to elicit a significant cueing effect across both experiments, hence lending support to both the object hypothesis and the implicit-reward hypothesis.
Keyword Role of reward
Attentional control

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Created: Tue, 19 Jun 2012, 14:42:05 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology