Threat reduces value-driven but not salience-driven attentional capture. Academic Article uri icon


  • What we direct our attention to is strongly influenced by both bottom-up and top-down processes. Moreover, the control of attention is biased by prior learning, such that attention is automatically captured by stimuli previously associated with either reward or threat. It is unknown whether value-oriented and threat-oriented mechanisms of selective information processing function independently of one another, or whether they interact with each other in the selection process. Here, we introduced the threat of electric shock into the value-driven attentional capture paradigm to examine whether the experience of threat influences the attention capturing quality of previously reward-associated stimuli. The results showed that value-driven attentional capture was blunted by the experience of threat. This contrasts with previous reports of threat potentiating attentional capture by physically salient stimuli, which we replicate here. Our findings demonstrate that threat selectively interferes with value-based but not salience-based attentional priority, consistent with a competitive relationship between value-based and threat-based information processing. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • Emotion

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, A. J., & Anderson, B. A.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Andy Jeesu||Anderson, Brian A

publication date

  • August 2020