Neural evidencerevealstherapideffectsofreward history onselectiveattention

Selective attention is often framed as being primarily driven by two factors: task-relevance and physical salience. However, factors like selection and reward history, which are neither currently task-relevant nor physically salient, can reliably and persistently influence visual selective attention. The current study investigated the nature of the persistent effects of irrelevant, physically non-salient, reward-associated features. These features affected one of the earliest reliable neural indicators of visual selective attention in humans, the P1 event-related potential, measured one week after the reward associations were learned. However, the effects of reward history were moderated by current task demands. The modulation of visually evoked activity supports the hypothesis that reward history influences the innate salience of reward associated features, such that even when no longer relevant, nor physically salient, these features have a rapid, persistent, and robust effect on early visual selective attention.

M. H. MacLean and B. Giesbrecht
Brain Research
Volume: 1606
Pages: 86-94
Date: May, 2015
ICB Affiliated Authors: Barry Giesbrecht