ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

### Contributions of Reward- and Punishment-Association to Attentional Shifting and Disengagement

Ran Zhuang, Yanyan Tu, Hui Li, Huimin Cao, Yanju Ren

1. School of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, No. 1 Daxue Road, Changqing District, Jinan, China, 250358
• Online:2019-08-26 Published:2022-03-21
• Contact: Yanju Ren, E-mail: renyanju@gmail.com

Abstract: PURPOSE: The spatial attention can be divided into three major steps: attentional disengagement, attentional shift and attentional engagement. In the case of the effects of reward and punishment on the components of selective visual attention, previous studies not only have found controversial results, but also have known disadvantages in their paradigms. Therefore, the present study investigate the effect of reward and punishment on attentional shift and disengagement by using a variant of the GAP paradigm.
METHODS: Ninety six undergraduates participated in the present study which was composed of four experiments which included training phase and test phase. In training phases, the different colors were associated with different reward (experiments 1 and 2) or punishment (experiments 3 and 4) levels respectively. In test phases, the targets (experiments 1 and 3) or fixation markers (experiments 2 and 4) had different colors and the prosaccade task (participants were instructed to make a saccade towards the targets) was employed to disassociate attentional shift from attentional disengagement.
RESULTS: In experiment 1 (experiment 3), response times (here also known as saccadic latencies) were significantly faster (slower) when the targets were high-reward color than when those were low-reward/no-reward. In experiment 2 (experiment 4), response times were significantly slower (faster) when the fixation markers were high-reward color than when those were low-reward/no-reward.
CONCLUSIONS: The above findings suggest that reward can either facilitate the attentional shift or inhabit the attentional disengagement, and punishment can either inhabit the attentional shift or facilitate the attentional disengagement.