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Behavioral distraction by auditory novelty is not only about novelty: the role of the distracter’s informational value
School of Psychology and Health Sciences Research Institute, University of the Balearic Islands.
School of Psychology, University of Plymouth.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science. School of Psychology, Cardiff University, United Kingdom.
2010 (English)In: Cognition, ISSN 0010-0277, E-ISSN 1873-7838, Vol. 115, no 3, p. 504-511Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 115, no 3, p. 504-511
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Engineering Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-9315DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.03.002ISI: 000280433500012Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-77951666053Local ID: 7ea869c0-3836-11df-a0f4-000ea68e967bOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-9315DiVA, id: diva2:982253
Note

Validerad; 2010; 20100325 (ysko)

Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2018-07-10Bibliographically approved

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Körning-Ljungberg, Jessica

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