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Reward guides vision when it's your thing: trait reward-seeking in reward-mediated visual priming.

Hickey C, Chelazzi L, Theeuwes J - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: This is considered to result in part from an impact on perceptual and attentional processes: dopamine initiates a series of cognitive events that result in the priming of reward-associated perceptual features.We have also demonstrated that there is substantial individual variability in this effect.Participants with reward-seeking personalities are found to be those who allocate visual resources to objects characterized by reward-associated visual features.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. c.hickey@psy.vu.nl

ABSTRACT
Reward-related mesolimbic dopamine is thought to play an important role in guiding animal behaviour, biasing approach towards potentially beneficial environmental stimuli and away from objects unlikely to garner positive outcome. This is considered to result in part from an impact on perceptual and attentional processes: dopamine initiates a series of cognitive events that result in the priming of reward-associated perceptual features. We have provided behavioural and electrophysiological evidence that this mechanism guides human vision in search, an effect we refer to as reward priming. We have also demonstrated that there is substantial individual variability in this effect. Here we show that behavioural differences in reward priming are predicted remarkably well by a personality index that captures the degree to which a person's behaviour is driven by reward outcome. Participants with reward-seeking personalities are found to be those who allocate visual resources to objects characterized by reward-associated visual features. These results add to a rapidly developing literature demonstrating the crucial role reward plays in attentional control. They additionally illustrate the striking impact personality traits can have on low-level cognitive processes like perception and selective attention.

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Behavioural results from the visual search task.Error bars reflect within-subject 95% confidence intervals (Cousineau, 2005).
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pone-0014087-g002: Behavioural results from the visual search task.Error bars reflect within-subject 95% confidence intervals (Cousineau, 2005).

Mentions: Our analysis centered on two features of the experimental design. First, the colors that defined the target in any given trial could either be the same as those in the previous trial (as when the target was red and the unique distractor was green in both trial n and trial n-1), or could have swapped (as when the target was red and the unique distractor was green in trial n but the target was green and the unique distractor was red in trial n-1; see also [18]). Second, participants could receive either high or low-magnitude reward following each trial. Our expectation was that high-magnitude reward would facilitate subsequent processing of the features that defined the target such that attention was biased towards these features in the next trial. Participants should therefore respond quickly when the same color characterizes the target as did so in the preceding trial. In contrast, when the colors swap, the color associated with reward will come to define the distractor. As a result, the likelihood of attention being captured to the distractor location should increase and reaction times (RTs) should become slower. This pattern was borne out in the data and - to foreshadow - is replicated in the present study (see Figure 2). Importantly, this does not appear to reflect a strategic propensity; we find that subjects erroneously select objects characterized by reward-conditioned features even when a much better strategy is available to them [11, Exp 1]. We refer to this automatic bias as reward priming.


Reward guides vision when it's your thing: trait reward-seeking in reward-mediated visual priming.

Hickey C, Chelazzi L, Theeuwes J - PLoS ONE (2010)

Behavioural results from the visual search task.Error bars reflect within-subject 95% confidence intervals (Cousineau, 2005).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2990710&req=5

pone-0014087-g002: Behavioural results from the visual search task.Error bars reflect within-subject 95% confidence intervals (Cousineau, 2005).
Mentions: Our analysis centered on two features of the experimental design. First, the colors that defined the target in any given trial could either be the same as those in the previous trial (as when the target was red and the unique distractor was green in both trial n and trial n-1), or could have swapped (as when the target was red and the unique distractor was green in trial n but the target was green and the unique distractor was red in trial n-1; see also [18]). Second, participants could receive either high or low-magnitude reward following each trial. Our expectation was that high-magnitude reward would facilitate subsequent processing of the features that defined the target such that attention was biased towards these features in the next trial. Participants should therefore respond quickly when the same color characterizes the target as did so in the preceding trial. In contrast, when the colors swap, the color associated with reward will come to define the distractor. As a result, the likelihood of attention being captured to the distractor location should increase and reaction times (RTs) should become slower. This pattern was borne out in the data and - to foreshadow - is replicated in the present study (see Figure 2). Importantly, this does not appear to reflect a strategic propensity; we find that subjects erroneously select objects characterized by reward-conditioned features even when a much better strategy is available to them [11, Exp 1]. We refer to this automatic bias as reward priming.

Bottom Line: This is considered to result in part from an impact on perceptual and attentional processes: dopamine initiates a series of cognitive events that result in the priming of reward-associated perceptual features.We have also demonstrated that there is substantial individual variability in this effect.Participants with reward-seeking personalities are found to be those who allocate visual resources to objects characterized by reward-associated visual features.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. c.hickey@psy.vu.nl

ABSTRACT
Reward-related mesolimbic dopamine is thought to play an important role in guiding animal behaviour, biasing approach towards potentially beneficial environmental stimuli and away from objects unlikely to garner positive outcome. This is considered to result in part from an impact on perceptual and attentional processes: dopamine initiates a series of cognitive events that result in the priming of reward-associated perceptual features. We have provided behavioural and electrophysiological evidence that this mechanism guides human vision in search, an effect we refer to as reward priming. We have also demonstrated that there is substantial individual variability in this effect. Here we show that behavioural differences in reward priming are predicted remarkably well by a personality index that captures the degree to which a person's behaviour is driven by reward outcome. Participants with reward-seeking personalities are found to be those who allocate visual resources to objects characterized by reward-associated visual features. These results add to a rapidly developing literature demonstrating the crucial role reward plays in attentional control. They additionally illustrate the striking impact personality traits can have on low-level cognitive processes like perception and selective attention.

Show MeSH