Attentional capture by evaluative stimuli: Gain- and loss-connoting colors boost the additional-singleton effect
In a valence induction task, one color acquired positive valence by indicating the chance to win money (in the case of fast and correct responses), and a different color acquired negative valence by indicating the danger to lose money (in the case of slow or incorrect responses). In the additional-singleton trials of a visual search task, the task-irrelevant singleton color was either the positive one, the negative one, or one of two neutral colors. We found an additional-singleton effect (i.e., longer RTs with a singleton color than in the no-singleton control condition). This effect was significantly increased for the two valent colors (with no differences between them) relative to the two neutral colors (with no differences between them, either). This result favors the hypothesis that the general relevance of stimuli elicits attentional capture, rather than the negativity bias hypothesis.