Interactions between incentive valence and action information in a cued approach–avoidance task
- 259 Downloads
Environmental stimuli can provoke specific response tendencies depending on their incentive valence. While some studies report positive-approach and negative-avoidance biases, others find no such mappings. To further illuminate the relationship between incentive valence and action requirement, we combined a cued monetary incentive paradigm with an approach/avoidance joystick task. Incentive type was manipulated between groups: The reward group won money, while the punishment group avoided losing money for correct and fast responses to targets following incentive cues. Depending on their orientations, targets had to be ‘approached’ or ‘avoided’. Importantly, incentive valence (signaled by cue color) was orthogonal to action requirement (target orientation). Moreover, targets could carry valence-associated information or not (target color), which was, however, task-irrelevant. First, we observed that both valence cues (reward/punishment) improved performance compared to neutral cues, independent of the required action (approach/avoid), suggesting that advance valence cues do not necessarily produce specific action biases. Second, task-irrelevant valence associations with targets promoted action biases, with valence-associated targets facilitating approach and impairing avoid responses. Importantly, this approach bias for valence-associated targets was observed in both groups and hence occurred independently of absolute valence (‘unsigned’). This rather unexpected finding might be related to the absence of a direct contrast between positive valence and negative valence within groups and the common goal to respond fast and accurately in all incentive trials. Together, our results seem to challenge the notion that monetary incentives trigger ‘hard-wired’ valence–action biases in that specific design choices seem to modulate the presence and/or direction of valence–action biases.
KeywordsReward Punishment Valence Action Approach/avoidance Monetary incentive paradigm
This study was supported by a starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 framework (Grant no. 636110 awarded to RMK).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Vincent Hoofs, Thomas Carsten, C. Nico Boehler, and Ruth M. Krebs declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
- Anderson, B. A., Laurent, P. A., & Yantis, S. (2011). Value-driven attentional capture. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(25), 10367–10371. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1104047108.
- Bouton, M. (2007). Learning and behavior: A contemporary synthesis. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.Google Scholar
- Bouton, M. E. (1993). Context, time, and memory retrieval in the interference paradigms of Pavlovian learning. Psychological Bulletin, 114(1), 80–99.Google Scholar
- Bruyer, R., & Brysbaert, M. (2011). Combining speed and accuracy in cognitive psychology: Is the Inverse Efficiency Score (IES) a better dependent variable than the mean Reaction Time (RT) and the Percentage of Errors (PE)? Psychologica Belgica, 51(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.5334/pb-51-1-5.Google Scholar
- Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. (1998). On the self-regulation of behavior. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- De Houwer, J. (2003). A structural analysis of indirect measures of attitudes. The psychology of evaluation: Affective processes in cognition and emotion (pp. 219–244).Google Scholar
- Geurts, D. E. M., Huys, Q. J. M., Ouden, D. H. E., & Cools, R. (2013). Aversive Pavlovian Control of Instrumental Behavior in Humans. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00425.
- Guitart-Masip, M., Duzel, E., Dolan, R., & Dayan, P. (2014). Action versus valence in decision making. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(4), 194–202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2014.01.003.
- Guitart-Masip, M., Fuentemilla, L., Bach, D. R., Huys, Q. J. M., Dayan, P., Dolan, R. J., & Duzel, E. (2011). Action dominates valence in anticipatory representations in the human striatum and dopaminergic midbrain. The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(21), 7867–7875. https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.6376-10.2011.Google Scholar
- Huys, Q. J. M., Cools, R., Gölzer, M., Friedel, E., Heinz, A., Dolan, R. J., & Raftery, A. (2011). Disentangling the roles of approach, activation and valence in instrumental and pavlovian responding. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(4), e1002028. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002028.Google Scholar
- Kong, G., Larsen, H., Cavallo, D. A., Becker, D., Cousijn, J., Salemink, E., & Krishnan-Sarin, S. (2015). Re-training automatic action tendencies to approach cigarettes among adolescent smokers: a pilot study. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 41(5), 425–432. https://doi.org/10.3109/00952990.2015.1049492.Google Scholar
- Konorski, J. (1967). Integrative activity of the brain; an interdisciplinary approach. Chicago:University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Krebs, R. M., Boehler, C. N., Egner, T., & Woldorff, M. G. (2011). The neural underpinnings of how reward associations can both guide and misguide attention. The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(26), 9752–9759. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0732-11.2011 Google Scholar
- Neumann, R., Förster, J., & Strack, F. (2003). Motor Compatibility: The Bidirectional Link Between Behavior and Evaluation. Mahwah:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
- Richter, A., Guitart-Masip, M., Barman, A., Libeau, C., Behnisch, G., Czerney, S., & Schott, B. H. (2014). Valenced action/inhibition learning in humans is modulated by a genetic variant linked to dopamine D2 receptor expression. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 8, 140. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2014.00140.Google Scholar
- Thayer, R. E. (1989). The Biopsychology of Mood and Arousal. Oxford:Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wagenbreth, C., Zaehle, T., Galazky, I., Voges, J., Guitart-Masip, M., Heinze, H.-J., & Düzel, E. (2015). Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus modulates reward processing and action selection in Parkinson patients. Journal of Neurology, 262(6), 1541–1547. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-015-7749-9.Google Scholar