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Carsten S. Nielsen, Anders Petersen, Claus Bundesen; The Value of Paying Attention. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):503. doi: 10.1167/14.10.503.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When acting in a dynamic environment we continuously trade-off the costs and benefits of attending to things. Valued-based attention thus helps us to bias the identification and selection of objects to which we assign a high value, and thus modulate both the processing speed and report accuracy of such. Here we put the hypothesis that monetary rewards can modulate speed and accuracy at the perceptual level to a test. Specifically, we test whether the utility of making specific visual categorizations can induce preferential processing. A Theory of Visual Attention (TVA; Bundesen, 1990) is used to inform the design of an experiment in which performance contingent monetary rewards are selectively associated with the identification of a briefly presented, mutually confusable single stimuli in a pure accuracy task. This allows us to investigate how the utility component of visual attention is modulated as a function of reward magnitude. Rewards impact on attention is evident in the experiment: When the rewards are high, neutral and low, the processing speed is increased, intermediate and reduced. No effect on the threshold at which the perceptual process begins is found. This suggests that rewards modulate the processing rate and report accuracy of stimuli identification, consistent with the idea that rewarded visual categorizations are processed preferentially.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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