Title

No Effect of Value Learning on Awareness and Attention for Faces: Evidence From Continuous Flash Suppression and the Attentional Blink

Abstract

It is widely believed that the emotional and movtivational value of social signals, such as faces, influences perception and attention. However, effects reported for stimuli with intrinsic affective value, such as emotional facial expressions, can often be explained by differences in low-level stimulus properties. To rule out such low-level effects, here we used a value-learning procedure, in which faces were associated with different probabilities of monetary gain and loss in a choice game. In three experiments involving 149 participants, we tested the influence of affective valence (win- vs. loss-associated faces) and motivational salience (probability of monetary gain or loss) on visual awareness, attention, and memory. Using continuous flash suppression and rapid serial visual presentation, we found no effects of affective valence or motivational salience on visual awareness of faces. Furthermore, in two experiments, there was no evidence for a modulation of the attentional blink, indicating that acquired emotional and motivational value does not influence attentional priority of faces. However, we found that motivational salience boosted recognition memory, and this effect was particularly pronounced for win-associated faces. These results indicate that acquired affective valence and motivational salience affect only later processing of faces related to memory but do not directly affect visual awareness and attention.

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Publication Date

8-1-2021

Publication Title

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1037/xhp0000923

Keywords

Visual awareness, Value learning, Reward, Continuous flash suppression, Attentional blink

Language

English

Format

text

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