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Monetary and non-monetary rewards reduce attentional capture by emotional distractors

journal contribution
posted on 27.08.2020, 07:13 by AT Walsh, David Podhortzer Carmel, David Harper, P Bolitho, Georgina Grimshaw
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Irrelevant emotional stimuli often capture attention, disrupting ongoing cognitive processes. In two experiments, we examined whether availability of rewards (monetary and non-monetary) can prevent this attentional capture. Participants completed a central letter identification task while attempting to ignore negative, positive, and neutral distractor images that appeared above or below the targets on 25% of trials. Distraction was indexed by slowing on distractor-present trials. Half the participants completed the task with no performance-contingent reward, while the other half earned points for fast and accurate performance. In Experiment 1, points translated into monetary reward, but in Experiment 2, points had no monetary value. In both experiments, reward reduced capture by emotional distractors, showing that even non-monetary reward can aid attentional control. These findings suggest that motivation encourages use of effective cognitive control mechanisms that effectively prevent attentional capture, even when distractors are emotional.

History

Preferred citation

Walsh, A. T., Carmel, D., Harper, D., Bolitho, P. & Grimshaw, G. M. (2020). Monetary and non-monetary rewards reduce attentional capture by emotional distractors. Cognition and Emotion, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2020.1802232

Journal title

Cognition and Emotion

Publication date

01/01/2020

Pagination

1-14

Publisher

Informa UK Limited

Publication status

Published

Online publication date

06/08/2020

ISSN

0269-9931

eISSN

1464-0600

Language

en

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