Monetary reward increases attentional effort in the flanker task

Psychon Bull Rev. 2010 Dec;17(6):821-6. doi: 10.3758/PBR.17.6.821.


An important question is whether monetary reward can increase attentional effort in order to improve performance. Up to now, evidence for a positive answer is weak. Therefore, in the present study, the flanker task was used to examine this question further. Participants had to respond sooner than a certain deadline in a flanker task. One group of participants received a performance-contingent monetary reward, whereas the other group earned a fixed amount of money. As a result, monetary reward significantly improved performance in comparison with the control group. The analysis of speed-accuracy trade-off functions revealed that monetary reward increased attentional effort, leading to an enhanced quality of stimulus coding. Little evidence was found that reward also improved selective spatial attention.

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Reaction Time
  • Reward*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Young Adult