Distraction by violation of sensory predictions: Functional distinction between deviant sounds and unexpected silences

Fabrice B.R. Parmentier, Alicia Leiva, Pilar Andrés, Murray T. Maybery

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been established that participants performing a continuous categorization task respond significantly slower following the presentation of unexpected, task-irrelevant, auditory stimuli, compared to a repetitive (standard) sound. Evidence indicates that such distraction emerges because of the violation of sensory predictions. This has typically been studied by measuring the impact of replacing the repeated sound by a different sound on rare and unpredictable trials. Here, we examine the impact of a different type of violation: the mere omission of the standard sound. Capitalizing upon the recent finding that deviant sounds exert distinct effects on response times as a function of whether participants produced or withheld a response on the previous trial, we present the results of an experiment seeking to disentangle two potential effects of sound omission: deviance distraction and the removal of an unspecific warning signal. The results indicate that deviant sound and the unexpected omission of the standard sound impact response times through, at least partially, distinct mechanisms. Deviant sounds affect performance by triggering the orienting of attention towards a new sensory input. Sound omissions, in contrast, appear to affect performance in part because responses no longer benefit from an unspecific warning signal to prepare for action.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0274188
JournalPLoS One
Volume17
Issue number9 September
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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