October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Direct Comparison of the Neural Correlates of Value- and Punishment-Driven Attentional Capture
Author Affiliations
  • Haena Kim
    Texas A&M University
  • Brian A. Anderson
    Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 239. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.239
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      Haena Kim, Brian A. Anderson; Direct Comparison of the Neural Correlates of Value- and Punishment-Driven Attentional Capture. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):239. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.239.

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Abstract

Prior experience with reward and aversive outcomes influences the attentional system. Even when non-salient and task-irrelevant, stimuli associated with either a reward or an aversive outcome capture attention, with a similar behavioral profile, and there is evidence across studies for a common neural substrate. However, a direct comparison of the neural correlates of attentional capture by stimuli previously associated with reward and punishment is lacking. We directly compared the influence of reward and aversive outcomes on attention in an fMRI study using a combined general linear model (GLM) and multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) approach. In a training phase, participants generated a speeded saccade to a square, the colour of which signalled either a reward (monetary gain), aversive (unavoidable electric shock), or no outcome (neutral). In a test phase, a square (distractor) and a circle (target) were presented simultaneously, one of which could appear in either the previously reward- or shock-associated colour. Participants had to fixate the circle. Behavioural data replicated attentional capture by both the reward- and shock-associated distractor, which was of comparable magnitude. Compared to neutral stimuli, both distractors were associated with overlapping stimulus-evoked activation in bilateral visual cortex, spatial priority maps (bilateral intraparietal sulcus and frontal eye field), regions previously linked to value-driven attention (caudate tail and substantia nigra), and regions of the ventral attention network (right middle frontal gyrus and temporo-parietal junction), among others. A direct comparison between distractor conditions revealed no significant clusters of differential activation. Furthermore, within the regions of common activation, the voxelwise pattern could not be reliably distinguished between the two distractor conditions; this was true both within individual regions as well as across regions. Altogether, these results suggest that the attentional system is guided by motivational relevance, with a common brain system for selecting stimuli on the basis of reward- and punishment-history.

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