Show Reference: "A value-driven mechanism of attentional selection"

A value-driven mechanism of attentional selection. Journal of vision, Vol. 13, No. 3. (15 April 2013), 7, doi:10.1167/13.3.7 by Brian A. Anderson
    abstract = {
                Attention selects stimuli for cognitive processing, and the mechanisms that underlie the process of attentional selection have been a major topic of psychological research for over 30 years. From this research, it has been well documented that attentional selection can proceed both voluntarily, driven by visual search goals, and involuntarily, driven by the physical salience of stimuli. In this review, I provide a conceptual framework for attentional control that emphasizes the need for stimulus selection to promote the survival and wellbeing of an organism. I argue that although goal-driven and salience-driven mechanisms of attentional selection fit within this framework, a central component that is missing is a mechanism of attentional selection that is uniquely driven by learned associations between stimuli and rewards. I go on to review recent evidence for such a value-driven mechanism of attentional selection, and describe how this mechanism functions independently of the well-documented salience-driven and goal-driven mechanisms. I conclude by arguing that reward learning modifies the attentional priority of stimuli, allowing them to compete more effectively for selection even when nonsalient and task-irrelevant.
    author = {Anderson, Brian A.},
    day = {15},
    doi = {10.1167/13.3.7},
    issn = {1534-7362},
    journal = {Journal of vision},
    keywords = {attention, development, learning, reward},
    month = apr,
    number = {3},
    pages = {7+},
    pmcid = {PMC3630531},
    pmid = {23589803},
    posted-at = {2013-12-09 15:26:50},
    priority = {2},
    publisher = {Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology},
    title = {A value-driven mechanism of attentional selection.},
    url = {},
    volume = {13},
    year = {2013}

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Anderson suggests that it would make sense if we attended to whatever to attend to promises the greatest reward.

Saliency of a stimulus might say something about its likelihood of offering reward if attended to.

Visual feature combinations become more salient if they are learned to be associated with reward.

Targets which are selected in one trial tend to be more salient in subsequent trials—they are selected faster and rejected slower.

The extent of this effect is modulated by whether or not the selection was rewarded.

Anderson argues that it is not the selection process that is influenced by reward but saliency evaluation (ie. attentional priority of a stimulus).