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Chisato Mine, Jun Saiki; Task-irrelevant reward-learning elicits value-driven attentional capture. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1345. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1345.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Rewards shape the deployment of visual attention to particular objects. Growing evidence indicates that the stimulus previously associated with reward involuntary captures attention (value-driven attentional capture; VDAC, e.g., Anderson, 2013). However, little is known about what properties of the reward-associated feature elicit VDAC, even if this feature no longer predicts reward outcome. In the present study, we conducted the flanker task in reward leaning, in which target was defined by location, to manipulate the color-reward association (training phase) and then tested the effect of this association in a visual search task with no reward outcome (test phase). Because attentional capture occurs under spatial uncertainty, first, we tested a hypothesis that the reward-associated feature needs to be utilized for target localization. Results showed that RTs were significantly slower in the high-reward than low-reward and control conditions during visual search with no reward outcome (Experiment 1), suggesting that stimulus features not useful for localizing a target are sufficient for VDAC. We also observed a significant VDAC in reward learning bound to distractors (Experiment 2), indicating that target-reward association is not critical. Next we put the same color to both the target and distractors in the flanker display to examine whether the feature should be useful in target-distractor discrimination to produce VDAC. A significant VDAC in Experiment 3 suggested that target-distractor discrimination by reward-associated features is not necessary for VDAC. Finally, we obtained a significant VDAC (Experiment 4) even when color rectangular frames around the letters were associated with reward. These results indicated that the stimulus previously associated with reward induced VDAC even when this stimulus feature no longer predicts reward outcome, suggesting that the association between task-irrelevant stimulus feature and reward is sufficient for VDAC.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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