By anticipating potential rewards, external cues can guide behavior to achieve a goal. Whether the conscious elaboration of these cues is necessary to elicit cue-guided choices is still unknown. The goal of the present study is to test whether the subliminal presentation of a visual cue previously paired with a reward is sufficient to bias responses that can lead to the same or a similar reward. To this aim, three experiments compared the subliminal and supraliminal presentation of reward-associated cues during a Pavlovian-to-Instrumental Transfer task. In line with previous evidence, results showed that the supraliminal presentation of reward-associated Pavlovian cues biased participant’s choice towards motivationally similar rewards (general transfer) as well as towards rewards sharing the precise sensory-specific properties of the cue (outcome-specific transfer). In striking contrast, subliminal cues biased choice only towards motivationally similar rewards (general transfer). Taken together, these findings suggest that cue-guided choices are modulated by the level of perceptual threshold (i.e., subliminal vs supraliminal) of reward-associated cues. Although conscious elaboration of the cue is necessary to guide choice towards a specific reward, subliminal processing is still sufficient to push towards choices sharing the motivational properties of the cue. Implications for everyday life, clinical conditions, and theoretical accounts of cue-guided choices are discussed.

Subliminal determinants of cue-guided choice

Garofalo S.;Starita F.;di Pellegrino G.
2020

Abstract

By anticipating potential rewards, external cues can guide behavior to achieve a goal. Whether the conscious elaboration of these cues is necessary to elicit cue-guided choices is still unknown. The goal of the present study is to test whether the subliminal presentation of a visual cue previously paired with a reward is sufficient to bias responses that can lead to the same or a similar reward. To this aim, three experiments compared the subliminal and supraliminal presentation of reward-associated cues during a Pavlovian-to-Instrumental Transfer task. In line with previous evidence, results showed that the supraliminal presentation of reward-associated Pavlovian cues biased participant’s choice towards motivationally similar rewards (general transfer) as well as towards rewards sharing the precise sensory-specific properties of the cue (outcome-specific transfer). In striking contrast, subliminal cues biased choice only towards motivationally similar rewards (general transfer). Taken together, these findings suggest that cue-guided choices are modulated by the level of perceptual threshold (i.e., subliminal vs supraliminal) of reward-associated cues. Although conscious elaboration of the cue is necessary to guide choice towards a specific reward, subliminal processing is still sufficient to push towards choices sharing the motivational properties of the cue. Implications for everyday life, clinical conditions, and theoretical accounts of cue-guided choices are discussed.
Garofalo S.; Sagliano L.; Starita F.; Trojano L.; di Pellegrino G.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/788020
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