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ERIC Number: EJ882598
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Behavioral Distraction by Auditory Novelty Is Not Only about Novelty: The Role of the Distracter's Informational Value
Parmentier, Fabrice B. R.; Elsley, Jane V.; Ljungberg, Jessica K.
Cognition, v115 n3 p504-511 Jun 2010
Unexpected events often distract us. In the laboratory, novel auditory stimuli have been shown to capture attention away from a focal visual task and yield specific electrophysiological responses as well as a behavioral cost to performance. Distraction is thought to follow ineluctably from the sound's low probability of occurrence or, put more simply, its unexpected occurrence. Our study challenges this view with respect to behavioral distraction and argues that past research failed to identify the informational value of sound as a mediator of novelty distraction. We report an experiment showing that (1) behavioral novelty distraction is only observed when the sound announces the occurrence and timing of an upcoming visual target (as is the case in all past research); (2) that no such distraction is observed for deviant sounds conveying no such information; and that (3) deviant sounds can actually facilitate performance when these, but not the standards, convey information. We conclude that behavioral novelty distraction, as observed in oddball tasks, is observed in the presence of novel sounds but only when the cognitive system can take advantage of the auditory distracters to optimize performance. (Contains 2 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A