Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Nancy Carlisle

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that stimuli associated with rewards can capture attention when presented as a distractor in follow-up tasks, indicated by slower response times to a target. This occurs even as those stimuli are no longer associated with rewards, and stimuli with higher levels of reward generate slower responses. The purpose of the current experiment was to explore the extent to which this effect, known as value-driven attentional capture, can translate into additional contexts. Specifically, we tested whether value-driven attentional capture would persist even when participants were engaged in a non-singleton search task, which diverges from most of the traditional research. Additionally, we attempted to determine whether attentional capture for color-based reward distractors would be enhanced if participants were given a task where they had to look for a target based on color, which should weight the rewarded color dimension, compared to shape. Results indicate that value-driven attentional capture was not present in the more complex test phase, possibly as a result of the more complex search array or the presence of cues indicating the target. Future research should continue to explore whether value-driven attentional capture is generalizable to more complex tasks.

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