Reward history modulates visual attention in an avian model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Attention can be biased towards previously reward-associated stimuli even when they are task-irrelevant and physically non-salient, although studies of reward-modulated attention have been largely limited to primate (including human and nonhuman) models. Birds have been shown to have the capacity to discriminate reward and spatial cues in a manner similar to primates, but whether reward history involuntarily affects their attention in the same way remains unclear. We adapted a spatial cueing paradigm with differential rewards to investigate how reward modulates the allocation of attention in peafowl (Pavo cristatus). The birds were required to locate and peck a target on a computer screen that was preceded by a high-value or low-value color cue that was uninformative with respect to the location of the upcoming target. All birds exhibited a validity effect (performance enhanced on valid compared to invalid cue), and an interaction effect between value and validity was evident at the group level, being particularly pronounced in the birds with the greatest amount of reward training. The time course of reward learning was conspicuously incremental, phenomenologically slower compared to primates. Our findings suggest a similar influence of reward history on attention across phylogeny despite a significant difference in neuroanatomy.

published proceedings

  • Anim Cogn

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Liao, M., Dillard, M. H., Hour, J. L., Barnett, L. A., Whitten, J. S., Valles, A. C., ... Yorzinski, J. L.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Liao, Ming-Ray||Dillard, Mason H||Hour, Jason L||Barnett, Lilia A||Whitten, Jerry S||Valles, Amariani C||Heatley, J Jill||Anderson, Brian A||Yorzinski, Jessica L

publication date

  • September 2023