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Jaap Munneke, Artem Belopolsky, Jan Theeuwes; Direct and Indirect Mechanisms of Value-Driven Attentional Guidance. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):82. doi: 10.1167/16.12.82.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Value-driven attentional capture refers to the automatic and involuntary guidance of attention to stimuli that are associated with value. Often this form of attentional selection is based on learned associations between a stimulus and a received (monetary) reward. The rationale is that associating a stimulus with a reward boosts its representation on an attentional priority map, biasing attention towards selection of this stimulus. The work presented here investigates how and to what extent value-signaling distractors capture attention when participants are provided with prior information concerning the target's location. In a series of experiments using a classic visual search paradigm, we provided the participants with a 100% valid cue concerning the target location. At the moment the target appeared at the cued location, a salient and reward-associated distractor appeared elsewhere in the display. The results show that under changing experimental conditions (such as the likelihood of obtaining reward), presenting participants with value-signaling distractors resulted in two distinct modes of value-driven capture, relying on different underlying attentional mechanisms. The first, indirect mechanism of attentional control refers to the observation that participants abandon the top-down set for target location in favor of reward-seeking behavior, leading to capture by all singleton stimuli that may represent value. The second, direct mechanism of value-driven attentional control concerns the observation that valued, but not non-valued distractors break through the focus of attention and capture attention, despite participants not engaging in reward-seeking behavior. In the current work we investigate the properties and experimental conditions leading to direct and indirect value-driven attentional guidance. Importantly, as classic saliency-driven attentional capture does not occur under focused attentional conditions, we conclude that rewarded stimuli appear to be more strongly manifested on a priority map leading to enhanced and distinctive means of attentional guidance.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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