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Jane Raymond, Risa Sawaki; Irrelevant Spatial Value Learning Modulates Visual Search. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):504. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.504.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Our sensory environment is replete with visual stimuli that are associated with motivational value. Growing evidence has demonstrated that the learned value of visual stimuli strongly influences visual processing. Although it has been shown that the learned value of a stimulus feature (e.g., object color) can modulate visual processing of items possessing that feature, it is unclear whether value associations pertaining to specific locations in space can modulate visual processing for other (untrained) stimuli presented at those locations when they are seen in a context for which prior spatial value learning is irrelevant. The present study investigated this issue by combining a spatial value learning task with a visual search task. Participants first learned to associate the presentation of a stimulus at one of four possible locations with a monetary outcome. Different locations were good or poor predictors of large or small wins (providing a unique probability X value combination for each location). Then, participants performed a simple visual search task involving four stimuli, one presented at each of the previously learned locations. Importantly, target location was non-predictive and no rewards were forthcoming, making location-outcome associations irrelevant. Nevertheless, we found that visual search was fastest for targets presented at the location previously associated with the best expected value. Spatial-value learning biases attentional orienting even when disadvantageous.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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