Measuring attention to reward as an individual trait: the value-driven attention questionnaire (VDAQ)

  • Brian A. AndersonEmail author
  • Haena Kim
  • Mark K. Britton
  • Andy Jeesu Kim
Original Article


Reward history is a powerful determinant of what we pay attention to. This influence of reward on attention varies substantially across individuals, being related to a variety of personality variables and clinical conditions. Currently, the ability to measure and quantify attention-to-reward is restricted to the use of psychophysical laboratory tasks, which limits research into the construct in a variety of ways. In the present study, we introduce a questionnaire designed to provide a brief and accessible means of assessing attention-to-reward. Scores on the questionnaire correlate with other measures known to be related to attention-to-reward and predict performance on multiple laboratory tasks measuring the construct. In demonstrating this relationship, we also provide evidence that attention-to-reward as measured in the lab, an automatic and implicit bias in information processing, is related to overt behaviors and motivations in everyday life as assessed via the questionnaire. Variation in scores on the questionnaire is additionally associated with a distinct biomarker in brain connectivity, and the questionnaire exhibits acceptable test–retest reliability. Overall, the Value-Driven Attention Questionnaire (VDAQ) provides a useful proxy-measure of attention-to-reward that is much more accessible than typical laboratory assessments.



This study was supported by grants from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation [NARSAD 26008] and NIH [R01-DA046410] to BAA.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the Texas A&M University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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