Behavioral distraction by auditory deviance is mediated by the sound's informational value: Evidence from an auditory discrimination task

Biqin Li, Fabrice Parmentier, M. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sounds deviating from an otherwise repetitive background in some task-irrelevant respect (deviant sounds among standard sounds) capture attention in an obligatory fashion and result in behavioral distraction in an ongoing task. Traditionally, such distraction has been considered as the ineluctable consequence of the deviant sound's low probability of occurrence relative to that of the standard. Recent evidence from a cross-modal oddball task challenged this idea by showing that deviant sounds only yield distraction in a visual task when auditory distractors (standards and deviants) announce with certainty the imminent presentation of a target stimulus (event information), regardless of whether they predict the target's temporal onset (temporal information). The present study sought to test for the first time whether this finding may be generalized to a purely auditory oddball task in which distractor and target information form part of the same perceptual stimulus. Participants were asked to judge whether a sound starting from a central location moved left or right while ignoring rare and unpredictable changes in the sound's identity. By manipulating the temporal and probabilistic relationship between sound onset and movement onset, we disentangled the roles of event and temporal information and found that, as in the auditory-visual oddball task, deviance distraction is mediated by the extent to which distractor information harbingers the presentation of the target information (event information). This finding suggests that the provision of event information by auditory distractors is a fundamental prerequisite of behavioral deviance distraction. © 2013 Hogrefe Publishing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-268
JournalExperimental Psychology
Volume60
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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