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The Ohio State University

1. Gwinn, Rachael E. The role of attention in preference-based choice: Evidence from behavioral, neural, and auditorydomains.

Degree: PhD, Psychology, 2019, The Ohio State University

What role does attention play in decision-making? This dissertation will explore this question in three chapters exploring the causality of attention, the neural basis for the effects of attention, and the role of attention in auditory choices. Prior research has demonstrated a link between visual attention and value-based choice, but the direction of causality is still unclear. Here we aimed to demonstrate that attention has a causal influence on choice. We tested whether spatially biasing attention in a visual search task would produce choice biases in a later choice task. We ran four experiments where the search target was more likely to appear on one “rich” side of the screen. In the subsequent choice tasks, subjects were more likely to choose items appearing on the rich side and the average choice bias depended on how well subjects learned the regularity in the search task. Additionally, eye-tracking data revealed a first-fixation bias toward the rich side, which in turn influenced choices. Taken together, these results provide novel support for a causal effect of attention on choice.While attention appears to be causal, little is known about the choice process’s neural substrates or how attention affects the integrated evidence representations. We conducted a simultaneous eye-tracking and fMRI experiment in which subjects gradually learned about the value of two lotteries. With this design we were able to extend decisions over a long period of time, manipulate the time course of evidence, and thus dissociate instantaneous and integrated evidence. We found that instantaneous evidence was represented in ventromedial prefrontal cortex and striatum, while integrated evidence was instead represented in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex. In line with our computational model, both instantaneous and integrated evidence signals in the prefrontal cortex were modulated by gaze direction, with attended options receiving more evidence and thus higher choice proportions.Finally, we explored the role of attention in the auditory domain. While we do make visual, preference-based decisions, like what to wear, every day, we don’t live in a purely visual world. We frequently make auditory decisions, like what song to listen to, yet these decision processes are not as well understood. To investigate such processes, including the role of attention, we had subjects complete a binary choice task. On each trial they controlled which of two songs played at any moment and ultimately decided which song they preferred. We found striking similarities between vision-based and auditory-based decisions, namely that attention played an important role in determining which song was chosen. However, unlike in visual choices, these attentional effects appear to be driven by a strong final-fixation effect. Advisors/Committee Members: Krajbich, Ian (Advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Psychology; Attention, Preference-based decision-making, audition, fMRI, eye-tracking

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APA (6th Edition):

Gwinn, R. E. (2019). The role of attention in preference-based choice: Evidence from behavioral, neural, and auditorydomains. (Doctoral Dissertation). The Ohio State University. Retrieved from http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1555404091329415

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Gwinn, Rachael E. “The role of attention in preference-based choice: Evidence from behavioral, neural, and auditorydomains.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, The Ohio State University. Accessed September 19, 2019. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1555404091329415.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Gwinn, Rachael E. “The role of attention in preference-based choice: Evidence from behavioral, neural, and auditorydomains.” 2019. Web. 19 Sep 2019.

Vancouver:

Gwinn RE. The role of attention in preference-based choice: Evidence from behavioral, neural, and auditorydomains. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2019. [cited 2019 Sep 19]. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1555404091329415.

Council of Science Editors:

Gwinn RE. The role of attention in preference-based choice: Evidence from behavioral, neural, and auditorydomains. [Doctoral Dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2019. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1555404091329415

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