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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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Related in: MedlinePlus

An illustration of the design in Experiment 2.The A5 note was ocassionally replaced by a deviant E6 tone (light grey note). Panel A depicts the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the expected direction of pitch transition, and Panel B displays the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the opposite (unexpected) direction.
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pone-0111997-g004: An illustration of the design in Experiment 2.The A5 note was ocassionally replaced by a deviant E6 tone (light grey note). Panel A depicts the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the expected direction of pitch transition, and Panel B displays the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the opposite (unexpected) direction.

Mentions: Whereas Experiment 1 was primarily designed to test the specific-stimulus hypothesis, Experiment 2 was designed to optimize the conditions for finding support for the direction-of-change hypothesis. In order to investigate whether a violation to the direction-of-change captures attention over and above the difference between the expected and the actually presented tone, the expected tone has to (a) be preceded by either a higher tone (i.e., an expected fall in pitch) or a lower tone (i.e., an expected rise in pitch), and (b) the pitch difference between the expected tone and the preceding tone has to be held constant. This required tone constellation never occurs naturally in ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ and therefore a more general melody manipulation was deemed necessary. Specifically, this was accomplished by playing the first strophe of ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ in two different scales, either low or high (Figure 4).


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 the design in Experiment 2.The A5 note was ocassionally replaced by a deviant E6 tone (light grey note). Panel A depicts the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the expected direction of pitch transition, and Panel B displays the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the opposite (unexpected) direction.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0111997-g004: An illustration of the design in Experiment 2.The A5 note was ocassionally replaced by a deviant E6 tone (light grey note). Panel A depicts the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the expected direction of pitch transition, and Panel B displays the condition in which the pitch of the deviant was in the opposite (unexpected) direction.
Mentions: Whereas Experiment 1 was primarily designed to test the specific-stimulus hypothesis, Experiment 2 was designed to optimize the conditions for finding support for the direction-of-change hypothesis. In order to investigate whether a violation to the direction-of-change captures attention over and above the difference between the expected and the actually presented tone, the expected tone has to (a) be preceded by either a higher tone (i.e., an expected fall in pitch) or a lower tone (i.e., an expected rise in pitch), and (b) the pitch difference between the expected tone and the preceding tone has to be held constant. This required tone constellation never occurs naturally in ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ and therefore a more general melody manipulation was deemed necessary. Specifically, this was accomplished by playing the first strophe of ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ in two different scales, either low or high (Figure 4).

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
Related in: MedlinePlus