Attentional training of the appetitive motivation system: Effects on sensation seeking preferences and reward-based behavior

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Motivation is seen to guide selective attention in favor of motivation-consistent stimuli. However, such links may be bi-directional in nature, such that selective attention processes may also bias and determine one's motivational state. In the present study, we examined the latter direction of influence by randomly assigning participants to one of two conditions designed to train selective attention either toward or away from rewarding word stimuli. The effects of this manipulation were examined in terms of approach-related intentions, emotional state, and reward-reactive behavior. It was found that the selective attention manipulation influenced preferences and behavior, but not conscious emotional state. Findings are discussed in relation to implications for motivation, cognition, and emotion.

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