On the representational nature of value-driven spatial attentional biases Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Reward learning biases attention toward both reward-associated objects and reward-associated regions of space. The relationship between objects and space in the value-based control of attention, as well as the contextual specificity of space-reward pairings, remains unclear. In the present study, using a free-viewing task, we provide evidence of overt attentional biases toward previously rewarded regions of texture scenes that lack objects. When scrutinizing a texture scene, participants look more frequently toward, and spend a longer amount of time looking at, regions that they have repeatedly oriented to in the past as a result of performance feedback. These biases were scene specific, such that different spatial contexts produced different patterns of habitual spatial orienting. Our findings indicate that reinforcement learning can modify looking behavior via a representation that is purely spatial in nature in a context-specific manner. NEW & NOTEWORTHY The representational nature of space in the value-driven control of attention remains unclear. Here, we provide evidence for scene-specific overt spatial attentional biases following reinforcement learning, even though the scenes contained no objects. Our findings indicate that reinforcement learning can modify looking behavior via a representation that is purely spatial in nature in a context-specific manner.

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Anderson, B. A., & Kim, H.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • October 2018