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Title: Rewards have a transient and task-specific effect on saccade latency and accuracy
Author: Dunne, Stephen David
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 8794
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2014
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The focus of this thesis was on investigating the key questions regarding the effectiveness of monetary rewards as a tool for behaviour change in rehabilitation. Firstly, do rewards consistently influence the eye movement behaviour in a neuro-typical human population? Secondly, do these effects persist once rewards are withdrawn? Finally, do these effects transfer to other unrewarded eye movement tasks? Nine experiments investigated the influence of monetary rewards on oculomotor function and attention in humans. Monetary rewards were found to consistently influence human saccadic behaviour such that faster eye movements were generated to rewarded locations compared to unrewarded locations. These effects persisted for a short period of time after rewards were withdrawn before extinguishing quickly. However, these hemifield-specific effects failed to transfer to any secondary unrewarded eye movement task, but instead produced a more general effect of reward in one experiment conducted. The present set of experiments have established a reward paradigm able to consistently produce behaviour change when rewards are present; however these effects were found to be context and task-specific. The findings of the present set of experiments have highlighted the transient nature of the effects of reward and provide a framework for the future use of monetary rewards as a tool for behaviour change. The findings provided by the present set of experiments can be harnessed in future to guide the effectiveness of monetary reinforcers in a neuro-atypical population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available