Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Christine L. Larson

Committee Members

Krista Lisdahl, Adam Greenberg


Reward, Working Memory


Past literature has demonstrated that reward stimuli capture attention involuntarily, much like salient stimuli or other emotional stimuli (e.g., threat). In addition, even previously rewarded stimuli capture attention when they are not task-relevant. Recent evidence has demonstrated that affective stimuli have preferential access to working memory stores, even when they are task-irrelevant distracters. The current study aimed to assess the potential impact of attentional capture of task-irrelevant reward stimuli on filtering efficiency into working memory. It was predicted that this attentional capture of stimuli representing reward may impact ongoing goal-directed behavior by impairing the encoding of task-relevant information into working memory and potentially enhancing distracter processing. The results did not support this hypothesis that there would be a differential impairment with the presence of a reward distracter.

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Psychology Commons