Reward magnitude enhances early attentional processing of auditory stimuli.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Reward associations are known to shape the brain's processing of visual stimuli, but relatively less is known about how reward associations impact the processing of auditory stimuli. We leveraged the high-temporal resolution of electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate the influence of low- and high-magnitude stimulus-reward associations in an auditory oddball task. We associated fast, correct detection of certain auditory target stimuli with larger monetary rewards, and other auditory targets with smaller rewards. We found enhanced attentional processing of the more highly rewarded target stimuli, as evidenced by faster behavioral detection of those stimuli compared with lower-rewarded stimuli. Neurally, higher-reward associations enhanced the early sensory processing of auditory targets. Targets associated with higher-magnitude rewards had higher amplitude N1 and mismatch negativity (MMN) ERP components than targets associated with lower-magnitude rewards. Reward did not impact the latency of these early components. Higher-reward magnitude also decreased the latency and increased the amplitude of the longer-latency P3 component, suggesting that reward also can enhance the final processing stages of auditory target stimuli. These results provide insight into how the sensory and attentional neural processing of auditory stimuli is modulated by stimulus-reward associations and the magnitude of those associations, with higher-magnitude reward associations yielding enhanced auditory processing at both early and late stages compared with lower-magnitude reward associations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Demeter, E; Glassberg, B; Gamble, ML; Woldorff, MG

Published Date

  • April 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 268 - 280

PubMed ID

  • 34811706

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8986595

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1531-135X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3758/s13415-021-00962-1


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States