Dissociable Components of Experience-Driven Attention. Academic Article uri icon


  • What we pay attention to is influenced by current task goals (goal-directed attention) [1, 2], the physical salience of stimuli (stimulus-driven attention) [3-5], and selection history [6-12]. This third construct, which encompasses reward learning, aversive conditioning, and repetitive orienting behavior [12-18], is often characterized as a unitary mechanism of control that can be contrasted with the other two [12-14]. Here, we present evidence that two different learning processes underlie the influence of selection history on attention, with dissociable consequences for orienting behavior. Human observers performed an antisaccade task in which they were paid for shifting their gaze in the direction opposite one of two color-defined targets. Strikingly, such training resulted in a bias to do the opposite of what observers were motivated and paid to do, with associative learning facilitating orienting toward reward cues. On the other hand, repetitive orienting away from a target produced a bias to repeat this behavior even when it conflicted with current goals, reflecting instrumental conditioning of the orienting response. Our findings challenge the idea that selection history reflects a common mechanism of learning-dependent priority and instead suggest multiple distinct routes by which learning history shapes orienting behavior. We also provide direct evidence for the idea that value-based attention is approach oriented, which limits the effectiveness of attentional bias modification techniques that utilize incentive structures.

published proceedings

  • Curr Biol

altmetric score

  • 2.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, H., & Anderson, B. A.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Haena||Anderson, Brian A

publication date

  • March 2019