Reward-priming of location in visual search

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External organisations

  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • University of Verona
  • Italian Institute of Neuroscience


Existing visual search research has demonstrated that the receipt of reward will be beneficial for subsequent perceptual and attentional processing of features that have characterized targets, but detrimental for processing of features that have characterized irrelevant distractors. Here we report a similar effect of reward on location. Observers completed a visual search task in which they selected a target, ignored a salient distractor, and received random-magnitude reward for correct performance. Results show that when target selection garnered rewarding outcome attention is subsequently a.) primed to return to the target location, and b.) biased away from the location that was occupied by the salient, task-irrelevant distractor. These results suggest that in addition to priming features, reward acts to guide visual search by priming contextual locations of visual stimuli.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere103372
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014