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The Role of Human Motivation in Visual Attention and Awareness under Load


Perceptual load theory has been credited with solving the long-standing debate in Psychology about the locus of selection. According with this theory, the degree to which distracting information can be ignored depends on the level of perceptual load involved in the task. However, this theory has not as yet been tested with motivationally-salient stimuli. It is not clear whether tasks of high perceptual load allow people to ignore distarctor information which has high motivational salience. Information that has been associated through learning and resulted in highly predictive outcome (called motivationally salience), should gain more attention than those less predictive, regardless of valence. Here I propose to investigate the effects of high motivational value on visual selective attention and the associated neural correlates. The proposal represents a novel approach to study the interaction of selective attention and motivation in the human brain. It brings together different areas of research on attention, awareness, emotion and motivation.

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UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Greta Borg-Carbott (Ms.)
EU contribution
€ 201 049,60