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Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Visual attention operates in a highly efficient, yet complex manner. Recent studies have suggested that reward history plays an important role in guiding visual attention. Those studies revealed that visual features that were previously associated with a high monetary reward attract visual attention compared to features associated with a low monetary reward, a finding referred to as value-driven attentional capture. Given the fact that a reward often follows a motivational action, the present study examined how approach and avoidance movements made to achieve a reward might modulate value-driven attentional capture. Experiment 1 revealed that a color that was previously associated with a high-reward was more likely to capture visual attention than a color that was previously associated with a low-reward, but only when the reward was achieved by an approaching movement. In contrast, when the reward was previously achieved by an avoiding movement, a color that was associated with a low-reward was more likely to capture attention than a color that was associated with a high-reward. Experiment 2 showed that approaching and avoiding movements do not modulate attentional capture on their own, in the absence of any reward. Experiment 3 replicated the key finding of Experiment 1 with a spatial cueing paradigm. The spatial cueing effect was greater when the color of a spatial cue was one that had previously been associated with a high-reward achieved by an approaching movement, or a low-reward achieved by an avoiding movement, mirroring the result of Experiment 1. In Experiments 1 – 3, participants were encouraged to frame the motivational movements as approaching or avoiding from one self. In Experiment 4, the procedure was changed to cause participants to instead regard the movements as approaching or avoiding from a virtual self presented on the display. In that situation the effect of approach and avoidance movements on value-driven attentional capture disappeared, suggesting that movements modulate value-driven capture but only when encoded within a person-centered reference frame. Overall, the present study revealed for the first time that visual features that were previously associated with congruent action and reward pairs prioritize visual selection. These novel findings highlight the fact that the history of action and reward interactively modulates visual selection.

Language

English (en)

Chair and Committee

Richard A. Abrams

Committee Members

Julie Bugg, Leonard Green, Mitchell Sommers, Cynthia Cryder,

Comments

Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7W958N4

Available for download on Sunday, May 15, 2118

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