Major Department

Health and Human Physiology


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BS (Bachelor of Science)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Pierce, Gary

Thesis Mentor

Vecera, Shaun


Stimuli associated with in-groups and out-groups might be cues that capture visual attention. We examined whether such value-driven attentional capture can be induced with in-groups and out-group images. Thirty-five participants were gathered, fifteen of which identified as Caucasian and twenty identified as Asian. Furthermore, we implemented images of Asian and Caucasian faces as reward feedback. I hypothesize that participants will have a stronger connection to their same ethic group, and therefore, their attention will be biased more for an in-group member than an out-group one. Following this hypothesis, I predict that participants will have the longest response time when an in-group distractor color is present, compared to the presence of an out-group distractor or a neutral distractor. MATLAB computer programing was used to display the study and counterbalanced the amount of images of in-group and out-groups, as well as the colors associated with each. An interesting attentional capture effect was observed for the Caucasian participants but no clear effect observed for the Asian participants. Differences seen with Asian and Caucasian participants may be due to differing amounts of exposure with each ethnic group. These findings can help in determining how social preferences and group affects in psychology are formed. Although not statistically significant, these results suggest patterns of attention associated with different ethnic groups. Collecting more participants in the future can further this study. These findings can then be used to determine reward across different age groups and the effects different types of reward may have on attention.


Distractor, reward, attention, in-group, out-group

Total Pages

15 pages


Copyright © 2017 Ann Walsh