Building on work on attention and motivation (Carver, ; .. Table 1, there was no statistical difference between the low atten-. Figure 2. A growing body of evidence indicates that attention and motivation are intimately tied. .. To investigate the relationship between incentive level and evoked. Help. Research - Coventry > An empirical examination of the rel An empirical examination of the relation between attention and motivation in.
Furthermore, findings from recent electrophysiological studies suggest that structures known to be involved in attention, such as the monkey lateral intraparietal area, also process information related to reward contingencies Platt and Glimcher, ; Sugrue et al.
How motivation and attention make a difference | Infant and Toddler Skills for Action
Finally, recent neuroimaging studies have started to probe the neural correlates of attention—motivation interactions in humans Mohanty et al. In spite of these recent advances, important gaps remain in our understanding of how attention and motivation contribute to behavioral performance.
Indeed, despite intense recent interest in understanding the neural bases of motivation Breiter et al. In a recent behavioral study, we reported that visual sensitivity increased as a function of absolute monetary incentive value, revealing that motivation enhanced detection sensitivity during a challenging attention task Engelmann and Pessoa, Based on these results, we proposed that increased motivation enhances attention, thus maximizing reward. More generally, we hypothesize that reward will lead to the calibration, or fine-tuning, of attention, leading to process-specific effects e.
An important challenge when studying the contributions of motivation to evoked brain responses is to disentangle specific effects of motivation from relatively unspecific effects of arousal or effort. Here, we attempted to investigate this question by employing a hybrid experimental design that allowed us to estimate both transient and sustained response components Visscher et al.
Motivation was parametrically manipulated in a blocked fashion by varying the magnitude and the valence of a monetary incentive linked to task performance.
Thus, transient components of the design corresponded to events associated with the processing of briefly presented cue and target stimuli. At the same time, sustained components corresponded to events that were maintained for the duration of the blocks. We therefore employed an experimental design that allowed us to estimate the separate contributions of motivation on cue- and target-related processing, unlike in previous studies in which cue and target processing were not extricated from one another e.
First, we studied not only how motivation changes what we pay attention to, but also how it affects our ability to flexibly switch the target of our attention. For instance, while driving a car, motivation might affect how well we can shift our attention between the car ahead of us and the broader pattern of traffic.
Second, we studied the role of the environmental context. In the previous example, perhaps the density of the traffic or the average speed of the cars on the road alters our ability to shift attention. Our general hunch going in was that different kinds of motivation would be beneficial in different contexts.
To study these questions, we had participants repeatedly shift their attention between global big picture and local small detail features of an image under varying contexts and motivational states. We changed context by altering the ratio of global to local targets, so that on some groups of trials there were more global or local targets, and on others there was an equal number of global and local targets.
Motivation was varied by showing participants pictures of delicious versus disgusting things and by having them act out arm positions that are associated with approaching e.
How motivation and attention make a difference
Faster switching between global and local features indicated how well our participants were able to shift their attention. When there were an equal number of global and local targets, avoidance motivation led to faster attention switching. On the other hand, when there were more global targets than local targets, approach motivation led to faster switching. Our study shows that avoidance motivation may improve shifts in attention when those shifts are frequent or predictable, whereas approach may help responding to rare or unexpected events.