'What's in a name?' 'No more than when it's mine own'. Evidence from auditory oddball distraction

J.K. Ljungberg, Fabrice Parmentier, Dylan Jones, E. Marsja, G. Neely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Research of the distractor value of hearing the own name has shown that this self-referring stimulus captures attention in an involuntary fashion and create distraction. The behavioral studies are few and the outcomes are not always clear cut. In this study the distraction by own name compared to a control name was investigated by using a cross-modal oddball task in two experiments. In the first experiment, thirty-nine participants were conducting a computerized categorization task while exposed to, to-be ignored own and matched control names (controlling for familiarity, gender and number of syllables) as unexpected auditory deviant stimulus (12.5% trials for each name category) and a sine wave tone as a standard stimulus (75% of the trials). In the second experiment, another group of thirty-nine participants completed the same task but with the additional deviant stimulus of an irrelevant word added (10% trials for each deviant type and 70% trials with the standard stimulus). Results showed deviant distraction by exposure to both the irrelevant word, own and the control name compared to the standard tone but no differences were found showing that the own name captured attention and distracted the participants more than an irrelevant word or a control name. The results elucidate the role of the own name as a potent auditory distractor and possible limitations with its theoretical significance for general theories of attention are discussed. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-166
JournalActa Psychologica
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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