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Value-driven attentional capture resists extinction in adolescence

33.507, Sunday, 18-May, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pavilion
Session: Attention: Reward and arousal

Zachary Roper1, Shaun Vecera1, Jatin Vaidya2; 1Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa

Adolescence has been characterized as a period of both opportunity and vulnerability. Numerous clinical conditions ranging from mood and anxiety disorders to substance use disorders often emerge during adolescence. These maladaptive behaviors and psychological disorders have been linked to problems with cognitive control, yet few studies have investigated how rewards differentially modify attentional processes in adolescents versus adults. Here, we trained adults and adolescents on a visual task to establish stimulus-reward (S-R) associations. Later, we assessed learning in an extinction task where previously rewarded stimuli periodically appeared as distractors. Both groups initially demonstrated value-driven attentional capture; however, the effect persisted longer in adolescents. The results could not be explained by developmental differences in visual short-term working memory. Given the importance of attentional control to daily behaviors and clinical conditions such as ADHD, these results reveal that cognitive control failures in adolescence may be linked to a value-based attentional capture effect.

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