USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate)

First Advisor

Major Professor: Dr. Jennifer L. O'Brien, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Pezzo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Constanza de Dios, M.A.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

June 23, 2016


Value learning has been shown to modulate attention. The current study investigated which elements of value learning (Probability or valence) influence attention. The P3 ERP component was examined as an index of attentional resources allocated to these valued stimuli and also as an index of the speed of processing these stimuli. Novel images were given a positive or negative (valence) value with variable probabilities of outcome (probability) in a learning task. Once the associations between stimuli and their expected values were made, the same stimuli were incorporated into a perceptual discrimination task where prior value was irrelevant. During perceptual discrimination, there was no significant increase in P3 amplitude based on either the previously learned valence or probability of the stimuli. However, there was a significant reduction in P3 latency for stimuli previously associated with more probable outcomes regardless of the valence of those outcomes. These findings suggest that visual items highly probable of an outcome utilize fewer attentional resources, allowing them to be processed at a faster rate.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Psychology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.