Dissociable neural mechanisms underlie value-driven and selection-driven attentional capture. Academic Article uri icon


  • Stimuli associated with reward acquire the ability to automatically capture attention. It is also the case that, with sufficient training, former targets can acquire the ability to capture attention in the absence of extrinsic rewards. It remains unclear whether these two experience-dependent attentional biases share a common underlying mechanism. The present study examined the influence of selection history on attentional capture, and compared its neural correlates with those of value-driven attentional capture reported in Anderson et al. (2014a). Participants completed a four-day training in visual search for a specific colour target. In a subsequent test phase, they performed visual search for a shape-defined target in which colour was task-irrelevant. Response times were slower when a former target-colour distractor was present than when it was absent, replicating attentional capture by unrewarded former targets. Neuroimaging results revealed preferential activation by a former target-colour distractor in sensory areas. A more right lateralised pattern of activation was observed, compared to attentional capture by reward cues. No distractor-evoked activity was found in the caudate tail. These results imply that attentional capture by selection history is primarily driven by plasticity in sensory areas, and that reward history and selection history influence attention via dissociable underlying mechanisms.

published proceedings

  • Brain Res

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, H., & Anderson, B. A.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Haena||Anderson, Brian A

publication date

  • April 2019