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Reward-associated features capture attention in the absence of awareness: Evidence from object-substitution masking.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Harris, JA; Donohue, SE; Schoenfeld, MA; Hopf, J-M; Heinze, H-J; Woldorff, MG
Published in: Neuroimage
August 15, 2016

Reward-associated visual features have been shown to capture visual attention, evidenced in faster and more accurate behavioral performance, as well as in neural responses reflecting lateralized shifts of visual attention to those features. Specifically, the contralateral N2pc event-related-potential (ERP) component that reflects attentional shifting exhibits increased amplitude in response to task-relevant targets containing a reward-associated feature. In the present study, we examined the automaticity of such reward-association effects using object-substitution masking (OSM) in conjunction with MEG measures of visual attentional shifts. In OSM, a visual-search array is presented, with the target item to be detected indicated by a surrounding mask (here, four surrounding squares). Delaying the offset of the target-surrounding four-dot mask relative to the offset of the rest of the target/distracter array disrupts the viewer's awareness of the target (masked condition), whereas simultaneous offsets do not (unmasked condition). Here we manipulated whether the color of the OSM target was or was not of a previously reward-associated color. By tracking reward-associated enhancements of behavior and the N2pc in response to masked targets containing a previously rewarded or unrewarded feature, the automaticity of attentional capture by reward could be probed. We found an enhanced N2pc response to targets containing a previously reward-associated color feature. Moreover, this enhancement of the N2pc by reward did not differ between masking conditions, nor did it differ as a function of the apparent visibility of the target within the masked condition. Overall, these results underscore the automaticity of attentional capture by reward-associated features, and demonstrate the ability of feature-based reward associations to shape attentional capture and allocation outside of perceptual awareness.

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Published In

Neuroimage

DOI

EISSN

1095-9572

Publication Date

August 15, 2016

Volume

137

Start / End Page

116 / 123

Location

United States

Related Subject Headings

  • Visual Cortex
  • Reward
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery
  • Male
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Cues
  • Color Perception
  • Brain Mapping
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
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Harris, J. A., Donohue, S. E., Schoenfeld, M. A., Hopf, J.-M., Heinze, H.-J., & Woldorff, M. G. (2016). Reward-associated features capture attention in the absence of awareness: Evidence from object-substitution masking. Neuroimage, 137, 116–123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.010
Harris, Joseph A., Sarah E. Donohue, Mircea A. Schoenfeld, Jens-Max Hopf, Hans-Jochen Heinze, and Marty G. Woldorff. “Reward-associated features capture attention in the absence of awareness: Evidence from object-substitution masking.Neuroimage 137 (August 15, 2016): 116–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.010.
Harris JA, Donohue SE, Schoenfeld MA, Hopf J-M, Heinze H-J, Woldorff MG. Reward-associated features capture attention in the absence of awareness: Evidence from object-substitution masking. Neuroimage. 2016 Aug 15;137:116–23.
Harris, Joseph A., et al. “Reward-associated features capture attention in the absence of awareness: Evidence from object-substitution masking.Neuroimage, vol. 137, Aug. 2016, pp. 116–23. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.010.
Harris JA, Donohue SE, Schoenfeld MA, Hopf J-M, Heinze H-J, Woldorff MG. Reward-associated features capture attention in the absence of awareness: Evidence from object-substitution masking. Neuroimage. 2016 Aug 15;137:116–123.
Journal cover image

Published In

Neuroimage

DOI

EISSN

1095-9572

Publication Date

August 15, 2016

Volume

137

Start / End Page

116 / 123

Location

United States

Related Subject Headings

  • Visual Cortex
  • Reward
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery
  • Male
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Cues
  • Color Perception
  • Brain Mapping