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The persisting influence of unattended auditory information : negative priming in intentional auditory attention switching

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

We studied negative priming (NP) in auditory attention switching. In a cued variant of dichotic listening, two spoken number words were presented, one to each ear, one spoken by a female, and one spoken by a male voice. A visual cue indicated whether the male or female voice was the target. A numerical magnitude judgement of the target number was required. The selection criterion could either switch or repeat across trials, so there were attention switch and repetition trials. Two experiments examined NP (distractor becomes target) and also included a "competitor priming" (CP) condition (target becomes distractor), relative to a "no priming" condition (target and distractor not related to previous trial). In Experiment 1, we investigated the basic priming effects. In Experiment 2, we additionally varied the response-cue interval (RCI; 100 ms vs. 1,900 ms) to examine time-related changes in priming. We found longer response times (RT) for switch trials compared with repetition trials (attention switch costs)-that is, when the internal processing context changed. In addition, we found longer RT for NP trials as well as reduced switch costs in long RCI, suggesting that previously relevant attentional settings dissipate over longer time. However, NP was not influenced by attention switches, and it was also not affected by RCI. Hence, NP in auditory attention switching does not seem strongly context or time sensitive.
ISSN: 1943-393X
Issue: 4
Volume: 82
Pages: 1835 - 1846
Publication year:2020