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date: 20 February 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The first part of the chapter describes effects of motivation on attention at the behavioural and physiological levels. For example, reward increases detection sensitivity (dprime) in both endogenous attention and exogenous attention tasks, enhances stimulus coding, and influences the filtering of task-irrelevant stimuli. These recent findings are surprising insofar as traditional psychological models have described motivation as a fairly unspecific ‘force’. The results reviewed are far from global. Instead they reflect specific mechanisms that are manifested selectively both at behavioural and neural levels. The second part of the chapter describes the role of attention when emotion-laden visual stimuli are processed. When one considers the bulk of the evidence, emotional processing is revealed to be capacity-limited. Yet, emotional processing is prioritized relative to that of neutral items.

Keywords: attention, motivation, emotion, reward, automaticity, salience, value learning

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