September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
What’s that smile worth? Social reward influences spatial orienting
Author Affiliations
  • Dana Hayward
    Department of Psychology, McGill University
  • Effie Pereira
    Department of Psychology, McGill University
  • Todd Vogel
    Department of Psychology, McGill University
  • Kathleen Stewart
    Department of Psychology, McGill University
  • Jelena Ristic
    Department of Psychology, McGill University
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 454. doi:10.1167/15.12.454
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      Dana Hayward, Effie Pereira, Todd Vogel, Kathleen Stewart, Jelena Ristic; What’s that smile worth? Social reward influences spatial orienting. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):454. doi: 10.1167/15.12.454.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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A wealth of recent research indicates that rewarded singletons capture attention. However, it is unclear whether reward may also lead to the development of spatial associations between neutral cues and corresponding target locations, resulting in spatial orienting. Furthermore, reward-mediated capture has mostly been demonstrated using monetary reward, opening up the possibility that this finding may not generalize to other types of rewards. To test this, we used a social reward and examined performance in Baseline, Learning, and Test conditions. Participants performed a four location cuing task, in which one of two bicolored circles (orange-yellow; blue-green) shown at fixation indicated a target on the left, right, top, or bottom with equal probability. In the Baseline condition, participants completed a target detection task. In the Learning condition, they performed a target identification task. Implicit social reward (i.e., “points” towards the researcher’s project) was administered for correct identification of a target that was spatially congruent with one half of one bicolored cue (e.g., orange left, target left; +5 points). Incorrect identification of a target that was congruent with the other half of the bicolored cue accrued negative points (e.g., yellow left; target left; -5 points). No reward was given for the other cue. Rewarded cue type was counterbalanced between participants. In the Test condition conducted one day later, participants performed the same task as Baseline. The data indicated that social reward influenced learning of spatial relations. In contrast to Baseline, where no facilitation of RTs was found, in the Test condition, participants were significantly faster at detecting targets congruent with the rewarded color. This shows that in addition to modulating attention to singletons, reward also modulates the learning of spatial associations, and furthermore suggests an important role of social reward for the development of human social attention.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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