No effect of cold pressor test-induced arousal on attentional benefits and costs in an endogenous spatial orienting paradigm

Felix Duecker*, Helen C. Mayrhofer, Heidi I. L. Jacobs, Alexander T. Sack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that arousal can influence hemispatial bias, suggesting that changes in arousal affect the neural networks involved in spatial attention control. The goal of the present study was to measure the effects of increased arousal on endogenous attentional orienting. We used a Spatial Orienting Paradigm to quantify attentional benefits and costs as measures of attentional orienting and re-orienting responses and exposed participants (N = 25; Experiment 1) to a bilateral feet Cold Pressor Test (CPT) to manipulate arousal. Increases in subjective distress ratings and blood pressure confirmed the effect of CPT on arousal. Although no overall effects of CPT on reaction times in the Spatial Orienting Paradigm were detected, an exploratory analysis of sex-specific effects revealed a left-lateralised decrease in benefits and increase in costs after CPT exposure in the male subsample (N = 11). To confirm these preliminary results, we repeated the experiment in a larger sample (N = 29, all male), but found no effect of CPT on orienting, with moderate to strong evidence in favour of a model excluding all (interaction) effects of CPT exposure (all BFIncl <0.3). Instead, our replicated results indicate that voluntary orienting is unaffected by CPT-induced increases of arousal. In the light of previous studies, and keeping in mind the interpretative challenges of null results, we discuss how and why our findings may be specific to endogenous as opposed to exogenous orienting and how arousal could possibly lead to the previously established effects on visuospatial bias without simultaneously affecting orienting and the underlying attention control networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107250
Number of pages15
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume135
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Arousal
  • Cold pressor test
  • Visuospatial attention
  • Hemispatial bias
  • Replication
  • REGIONAL BRAIN ACTIVATION
  • POST-LEARNING STRESS
  • TIME-ON-TASK
  • SLEEP-DEPRIVATION
  • BLOOD-PRESSURE
  • SUSTAINED ATTENTION
  • UNILATERAL NEGLECT
  • PARIETAL CORTEX
  • RESPONSES
  • STIMULUS

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