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What we expect is not always what we get: evidence for both the direction-of-change and the specific-stimulus hypotheses of auditory attentional capture.

Nöstl A, Marsh JE, Sörqvist P - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Experiment 1 found that deviants capture attention as a function of the pitch difference between the deviant and the replaced/expected tone.The results support the expectation violation account of auditory distraction and suggest that there are at least two different expectations that can be violated: One appears to be bound to a specific stimulus and the other would seem to be bound to a more global cross-stimulus rule such as the direction-of-change based on a sequence of preceding sound events.Factors like base-rate probability of tones within the sound environment might become the driving mechanism of attentional capture--rather than violated expectations--in complex sound environments.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
Participants were requested to respond to a sequence of visual targets while listening to a well-known lullaby. One of the notes in the lullaby was occasionally exchanged with a pattern deviant. Experiment 1 found that deviants capture attention as a function of the pitch difference between the deviant and the replaced/expected tone. However, when the pitch difference between the expected tone and the deviant tone is held constant, a violation to the direction-of-pitch change across tones can also capture attention (Experiment 2). Moreover, in more complex auditory environments, wherein it is difficult to build a coherent neural model of the sound environment from which expectations are formed, deviations can capture attention but it appears to matter less whether this is a violation from a specific stimulus or a violation of the current direction-of-change (Experiment 3). The results support the expectation violation account of auditory distraction and suggest that there are at least two different expectations that can be violated: One appears to be bound to a specific stimulus and the other would seem to be bound to a more global cross-stimulus rule such as the direction-of-change based on a sequence of preceding sound events. Factors like base-rate probability of tones within the sound environment might become the driving mechanism of attentional capture--rather than violated expectations--in complex sound environments.

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An illustration of ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’.Black arrows indicate sound sequence positions where tone replacements were occationally inserted during Experiment 1.
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pone-0111997-g001: An illustration of ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’.Black arrows indicate sound sequence positions where tone replacements were occationally inserted during Experiment 1.

Mentions: The purpose of the experiments reported here was to investigate whether unexpected auditory events capture attention because they violate the expectation of a specific stimulus, the expectation of a specific cross-stimulus pitch transition (direction-of-change), or both. To achieve this goal, we again utilized a modified version of the cross-modal auditory distraction paradigm. As the sound sequence has to be well-learned for the pattern deviant to capture attention [4]—and indeed be experienced as deviating—we decided to use a cross-trial tone sequence that comprised the well-known tune ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ (Figure 1). The device of presenting a deviant note in a well-known melody is well established. Particularly it has proved useful in investigating double dissociations between brain responses to memory- and rule-based violations in melodies with the purpose of attempting to understand the neural basis of rule-governed and memory-based knowledge of music [13]. In the context of the current investigation, the use of a well-known melody, for which there is long-term knowledge, is both original and informative. For example, a well-known melody circumnavigates the problems associated with sequence learning of unfamiliar tonal patterns—whereby the auditory sequence must first be learnt before deviant notes can be recognized as such—and therefore the effects of note violations (or novels) can be observed early within the experimental session.


What we expect is not always what we get: evidence for both the direction-of-change and the specific-stimulus hypotheses of auditory attentional capture.

Nöstl A, Marsh JE, Sörqvist P - PLoS ONE (2014)

An illustration of ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’.Black arrows indicate sound sequence positions where tone replacements were occationally inserted during Experiment 1.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4230934&req=5

pone-0111997-g001: An illustration of ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’.Black arrows indicate sound sequence positions where tone replacements were occationally inserted during Experiment 1.
Mentions: The purpose of the experiments reported here was to investigate whether unexpected auditory events capture attention because they violate the expectation of a specific stimulus, the expectation of a specific cross-stimulus pitch transition (direction-of-change), or both. To achieve this goal, we again utilized a modified version of the cross-modal auditory distraction paradigm. As the sound sequence has to be well-learned for the pattern deviant to capture attention [4]—and indeed be experienced as deviating—we decided to use a cross-trial tone sequence that comprised the well-known tune ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ (Figure 1). The device of presenting a deviant note in a well-known melody is well established. Particularly it has proved useful in investigating double dissociations between brain responses to memory- and rule-based violations in melodies with the purpose of attempting to understand the neural basis of rule-governed and memory-based knowledge of music [13]. In the context of the current investigation, the use of a well-known melody, for which there is long-term knowledge, is both original and informative. For example, a well-known melody circumnavigates the problems associated with sequence learning of unfamiliar tonal patterns—whereby the auditory sequence must first be learnt before deviant notes can be recognized as such—and therefore the effects of note violations (or novels) can be observed early within the experimental session.

Bottom Line: Experiment 1 found that deviants capture attention as a function of the pitch difference between the deviant and the replaced/expected tone.The results support the expectation violation account of auditory distraction and suggest that there are at least two different expectations that can be violated: One appears to be bound to a specific stimulus and the other would seem to be bound to a more global cross-stimulus rule such as the direction-of-change based on a sequence of preceding sound events.Factors like base-rate probability of tones within the sound environment might become the driving mechanism of attentional capture--rather than violated expectations--in complex sound environments.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden.

ABSTRACT
Participants were requested to respond to a sequence of visual targets while listening to a well-known lullaby. One of the notes in the lullaby was occasionally exchanged with a pattern deviant. Experiment 1 found that deviants capture attention as a function of the pitch difference between the deviant and the replaced/expected tone. However, when the pitch difference between the expected tone and the deviant tone is held constant, a violation to the direction-of-pitch change across tones can also capture attention (Experiment 2). Moreover, in more complex auditory environments, wherein it is difficult to build a coherent neural model of the sound environment from which expectations are formed, deviations can capture attention but it appears to matter less whether this is a violation from a specific stimulus or a violation of the current direction-of-change (Experiment 3). The results support the expectation violation account of auditory distraction and suggest that there are at least two different expectations that can be violated: One appears to be bound to a specific stimulus and the other would seem to be bound to a more global cross-stimulus rule such as the direction-of-change based on a sequence of preceding sound events. Factors like base-rate probability of tones within the sound environment might become the driving mechanism of attentional capture--rather than violated expectations--in complex sound environments.

Show MeSH