What is it about?

We demonstrate that the rewards we had in the past can shape what we see in the present. This effect happens so fast that it can influence decisions in the absence of our conscious awareness.

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Why is it important?

Beyond its theoretical significance, the effect of rewards on what we see has clinical implications. For example, additive behaviors are particularly prone to relapse. Our results suggest that reward-related experiences related to substance exert influences on the very early stages of information processing in the brain. In other words, drug-related cues simply appear more salient to individuals with addiction without them being aware of it, and so are more likely to drive them back to using again. Therefore, therapeutics should target neural activity in early perceptual regions to more effectively treat addiction and prevent relapse.

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This page is a summary of: Reward Rapidly Enhances Visual Perception, Psychological Science, November 2021, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/09567976211021843.
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