Generalization of value-based attentional priority Academic Article uri icon


  • Attention is the mechanism by which important or salient stimuli are selected for perceptual and cognitive processing. Which stimuli are attended has important implications for effective goal-directed behaviour, survival, and well-being. A growing body of evidence suggests that reward-predicting stimuli capture attention involuntarily. In previous studies, value-based attentional priority has been observed only when the formerly reward-related stimuli themselves were presented as targets or distractors. Here we show that stimulus-reward associations learned in one task generalize to different stimuli that share a defining feature (colour) in another task. Our results reveal a broad and flexible role for reward learning in modulating attentional priority.

author list (cited authors)

  • Anderson, B. A., Laurent, P. A., & Yantis, S.

citation count

  • 83

publication date

  • May 2012