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The modulation of auditory novelty processing by working memory load in school age children and adults: a combined behavioral and event-related potential study.

Ruhnau P, Wetzel N, Widmann A, Schröger E - BMC Neurosci (2010)

Bottom Line: Adults showed more efficient reallocation of attention (reflected by RON) under load condition than children.Finally, the P3b elicited by the visual target stimuli was reduced in both age groups when the preceding sound was a novel.Our results give new insights in the development of novelty processing as they (1) reveal that task-irrelevant novel sounds can result in contrary effects on the performance in a visual primary task in children and adults, (2) show a positive ERP deflection to novels rather than an MMN in children, and (3) reveal effects of auditory novels on visual target processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Psychology I, University of Leipzig, Seeburgstr, 14-20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany. ruhnau@uni-leipzig.de

ABSTRACT

Background: We investigated the processing of task-irrelevant and unexpected novel sounds and its modulation by working-memory load in children aged 9-10 and in adults. Environmental sounds (novels) were embedded amongst frequently presented standard sounds in an auditory-visual distraction paradigm. Each sound was followed by a visual target. In two conditions, participants evaluated the position of a visual stimulus (0-back, low load) or compared the position of the current stimulus with the one two trials before (2-back, high load). Processing of novel sounds were measured with reaction times, hit rates and the auditory event-related brain potentials (ERPs) Mismatch Negativity (MMN), P3a, Reorienting Negativity (RON) and visual P3b.

Results: In both memory load conditions novels impaired task performance in adults whereas they improved performance in children. Auditory ERPs reflect age-related differences in the time-window of the MMN as children showed a positive ERP deflection to novels whereas adults lack an MMN. The attention switch towards the task irrelevant novel (reflected by P3a) was comparable between the age groups. Adults showed more efficient reallocation of attention (reflected by RON) under load condition than children. Finally, the P3b elicited by the visual target stimuli was reduced in both age groups when the preceding sound was a novel.

Conclusion: Our results give new insights in the development of novelty processing as they (1) reveal that task-irrelevant novel sounds can result in contrary effects on the performance in a visual primary task in children and adults, (2) show a positive ERP deflection to novels rather than an MMN in children, and (3) reveal effects of auditory novels on visual target processing.

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Group average ERPs in the memory load conditions for both age groups time-locked to the visual target stimulus. Left panel displays children right panel displays adults. The P3b analysis time window is highlighted.
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Figure 4: Group average ERPs in the memory load conditions for both age groups time-locked to the visual target stimulus. Left panel displays children right panel displays adults. The P3b analysis time window is highlighted.

Mentions: The ERPs time locked to the onset of the visual stimulus following novel respectively standard sounds are shown in Figure 4. The visual ERPs in adults show a distinct N1 (200 ms after onset of the visual stimulus) followed by a small P2 and N2 and a distinct parieto-occipital P3b. In the standard and novel ERPs for the 2-back condition, an overlapping frontal negativity can be seen subsequent to P3b. Children also revealed an N1 which was followed by P2 and N2 deflections. The subsequent P3b to all stimulus types and conditions and the fronto-central negativity to standards and novels in the 2-back condition can also be identified. The ANOVA in the P3b time-window (330 ± 30 ms) with the factors Memory Load × Stimulus Type × Age revealed no interactions but a main effect of Memory Load (F(1,24) = 12.633, p < 0.003, η2 = 0.345), confirming less positive P3b in the high load condition. Furthermore there was a main effect of Stimulus Type (F(1,24) = 10.062, p < 0.005, η2 = 0.295), confirming less positive P3b amplitudes in trials containing novels compared to standards, and a main effect of Age (F(1,24) = 10.273, p <0.005, η2 = 0.300) explained by higher amplitudes in children compared to adults.


The modulation of auditory novelty processing by working memory load in school age children and adults: a combined behavioral and event-related potential study.

Ruhnau P, Wetzel N, Widmann A, Schröger E - BMC Neurosci (2010)

Group average ERPs in the memory load conditions for both age groups time-locked to the visual target stimulus. Left panel displays children right panel displays adults. The P3b analysis time window is highlighted.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2959093&req=5

Figure 4: Group average ERPs in the memory load conditions for both age groups time-locked to the visual target stimulus. Left panel displays children right panel displays adults. The P3b analysis time window is highlighted.
Mentions: The ERPs time locked to the onset of the visual stimulus following novel respectively standard sounds are shown in Figure 4. The visual ERPs in adults show a distinct N1 (200 ms after onset of the visual stimulus) followed by a small P2 and N2 and a distinct parieto-occipital P3b. In the standard and novel ERPs for the 2-back condition, an overlapping frontal negativity can be seen subsequent to P3b. Children also revealed an N1 which was followed by P2 and N2 deflections. The subsequent P3b to all stimulus types and conditions and the fronto-central negativity to standards and novels in the 2-back condition can also be identified. The ANOVA in the P3b time-window (330 ± 30 ms) with the factors Memory Load × Stimulus Type × Age revealed no interactions but a main effect of Memory Load (F(1,24) = 12.633, p < 0.003, η2 = 0.345), confirming less positive P3b in the high load condition. Furthermore there was a main effect of Stimulus Type (F(1,24) = 10.062, p < 0.005, η2 = 0.295), confirming less positive P3b amplitudes in trials containing novels compared to standards, and a main effect of Age (F(1,24) = 10.273, p <0.005, η2 = 0.300) explained by higher amplitudes in children compared to adults.

Bottom Line: Adults showed more efficient reallocation of attention (reflected by RON) under load condition than children.Finally, the P3b elicited by the visual target stimuli was reduced in both age groups when the preceding sound was a novel.Our results give new insights in the development of novelty processing as they (1) reveal that task-irrelevant novel sounds can result in contrary effects on the performance in a visual primary task in children and adults, (2) show a positive ERP deflection to novels rather than an MMN in children, and (3) reveal effects of auditory novels on visual target processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Psychology I, University of Leipzig, Seeburgstr, 14-20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany. ruhnau@uni-leipzig.de

ABSTRACT

Background: We investigated the processing of task-irrelevant and unexpected novel sounds and its modulation by working-memory load in children aged 9-10 and in adults. Environmental sounds (novels) were embedded amongst frequently presented standard sounds in an auditory-visual distraction paradigm. Each sound was followed by a visual target. In two conditions, participants evaluated the position of a visual stimulus (0-back, low load) or compared the position of the current stimulus with the one two trials before (2-back, high load). Processing of novel sounds were measured with reaction times, hit rates and the auditory event-related brain potentials (ERPs) Mismatch Negativity (MMN), P3a, Reorienting Negativity (RON) and visual P3b.

Results: In both memory load conditions novels impaired task performance in adults whereas they improved performance in children. Auditory ERPs reflect age-related differences in the time-window of the MMN as children showed a positive ERP deflection to novels whereas adults lack an MMN. The attention switch towards the task irrelevant novel (reflected by P3a) was comparable between the age groups. Adults showed more efficient reallocation of attention (reflected by RON) under load condition than children. Finally, the P3b elicited by the visual target stimuli was reduced in both age groups when the preceding sound was a novel.

Conclusion: Our results give new insights in the development of novelty processing as they (1) reveal that task-irrelevant novel sounds can result in contrary effects on the performance in a visual primary task in children and adults, (2) show a positive ERP deflection to novels rather than an MMN in children, and (3) reveal effects of auditory novels on visual target processing.

Show MeSH