Value-Biased Competition in the Auditory System of the Brain. Academic Article uri icon


  • Attentional capture by previously reward-associated stimuli has predominantly been measured in the visual domain. Recently, behavioral studies of value-driven attention have demonstrated involuntary attentional capture by previously reward-associated sounds, emulating behavioral findings within the visual domain and suggesting a common mechanism of attentional capture by value across sensory modalities. However, the neural correlates of the modulatory role of learned value on the processing of auditory information has not been examined. Here, we conducted a neuroimaging study on human participants using a previously established behavioral paradigm that measures value-driven attention in an auditory target identification task. We replicate behavioral findings of both voluntary prioritization and involuntary attentional capture by previously reward-associated sounds. When task-relevant, the selective processing of high-value sounds is supported by reduced activation in the dorsal attention network of the visual system (FEF, intraparietal sulcus, right middle frontal gyrus), implicating cross-modal processes of biased competition. When task-irrelevant, in contrast, high-value sounds evoke elevated activation in posterior parietal cortex and are represented with greater fidelity in the auditory cortex. Our findings reveal two distinct mechanisms of prioritizing reward-related auditory signals, with voluntary and involuntary modes of orienting that are differently manifested in biased competition.

published proceedings

  • J Cogn Neurosci

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, A. J., GrĂ©goire, L., & Anderson, B. A

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Andy J||GrĂ©goire, Laurent||Anderson, Brian A

publication date

  • December 2021