Event Title

Attention Capture by Fear Conditioned Stimuli

Mentor 1

Deborah Hannula

Mentor 2

Fred Helmstetter

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

29-4-2016 1:30 PM

End Date

29-4-2016 3:30 PM

Description

BACKGROUND: Task-irrelevant items can capture attention when they are perceptually salient or have been associated with reward. Recently, we reported capture by a fear conditioned stimulus that was presented suddenly as an unexpected onset in a search array. Because onsets capture attention even in the absence of aversive value, the current study was conducted to confirm that capture occurs even when fear conditioned items are not sudden onsets. METHODS: The experiment began with a training phase. During training, search displays contained an array of six differently colored circles – one of these was always red or green. Participants were instructed to fixate either the red or green circle quickly to avoid shock. One color (i.e. the CS+) was paired with shock more often than the other (i.e. the CS-). In a subsequent test phase, search displays contained either an array of differently colored circles among one diamond, or differently colored diamonds among one circle. On each trial in a test session, participants were instructed to make one eye movement to the shape singleton. Critically, the CS+ and the CS- served as irrelevant distractors on a subset of the trials. RESULTS: Despite instructions to immediately fixate shape singletons, participants made erroneous saccades to irrelevant items in the test display, and made these errors more often in the presence of the CS+ than the CS-. A subset of these individuals made erroneous saccades despite being unable to explicitly report the contingencies that were learned during training. CONCLUSION: Results from this study confirm that eye movements can be captured by fear conditioned stimuli, even when the CS+ and the CS- are not presented as sudden onsets.

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Apr 29th, 1:30 PM Apr 29th, 3:30 PM

Attention Capture by Fear Conditioned Stimuli

Union Wisconsin Room

BACKGROUND: Task-irrelevant items can capture attention when they are perceptually salient or have been associated with reward. Recently, we reported capture by a fear conditioned stimulus that was presented suddenly as an unexpected onset in a search array. Because onsets capture attention even in the absence of aversive value, the current study was conducted to confirm that capture occurs even when fear conditioned items are not sudden onsets. METHODS: The experiment began with a training phase. During training, search displays contained an array of six differently colored circles – one of these was always red or green. Participants were instructed to fixate either the red or green circle quickly to avoid shock. One color (i.e. the CS+) was paired with shock more often than the other (i.e. the CS-). In a subsequent test phase, search displays contained either an array of differently colored circles among one diamond, or differently colored diamonds among one circle. On each trial in a test session, participants were instructed to make one eye movement to the shape singleton. Critically, the CS+ and the CS- served as irrelevant distractors on a subset of the trials. RESULTS: Despite instructions to immediately fixate shape singletons, participants made erroneous saccades to irrelevant items in the test display, and made these errors more often in the presence of the CS+ than the CS-. A subset of these individuals made erroneous saccades despite being unable to explicitly report the contingencies that were learned during training. CONCLUSION: Results from this study confirm that eye movements can be captured by fear conditioned stimuli, even when the CS+ and the CS- are not presented as sudden onsets.