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Weixi Zheng, Jiayang Geng, Dexiang Zhang, Jie Zhang, Jingpeng Qiao; Task difficulty rather than reward method modulates the reward boosts in visual working memory. Journal of Vision 2022;22(11):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.11.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Both monetary and notional rewards are important to motivate individuals to prioritize specific items in visual working memory (VWM). However, whether the reward method and task difficulty are the key factors that modulate the reward boosts in VWM is unclear. In this study, we designed two experiments to explore this question. Experiment 1 examined whether the reward method modulates reward boosts in VWM by manipulating the item type (high reward, low reward, equal reward) and reward method (monetary and notional). Experiment 2 examined whether task difficulty modulates reward boosts in VWM by manipulating the number of high-reward items (1, 2, 3), reward method, and item type. The results indicated reward boosts for high-reward items compared to low- and equal-reward items. Moreover, the VWM performance was higher in the monetary reward condition than in the notional reward condition; however, there was no interaction between the reward method and item type. Additionally, a significant interaction was found between the reward number and item type: Reward boosts on VWM performance occurred only when one or two higher reward items were present. In conclusion, reward boosts in VWM tasks are modulated by task difficulty but not the reward method.
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