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Broken expectations: Violation of expectancies, not novelty, captures auditory attention

Vachon, François, Hughes, Robert Wyn and Jones, Dylan Marc ORCID: 2012. Broken expectations: Violation of expectancies, not novelty, captures auditory attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 38 (1) , pp. 164-177. 10.1037/a0025054

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The role of memory in behavioral distraction by auditory attentional capture was investigated: We examined whether capture is a product of the novelty of the capturing event (i.e., the absence of a recent memory for the event) or its violation of learned expectancies on the basis of a memory for an event structure. Attentional capture—indicated by disruption of a focal visually presented serial recall task—was found when the voice conveying a concurrent irrelevant auditory sequence changed every 5 recall trials (from male to female or vice versa). There was no evidence of attentional capture when the irrelevant sequence was first encountered and hence novel; capture occurred only when an expectation for a particular voice had been learned and then violated. Furthermore, with the increasing predictability of (and hence expectancy for) the voice changes across the experimental session, the capture response diminished only to be reinstated when that session-wide expectation was itself violated by a break in the change-every-5-trials pattern. The results highlight the critical role of learned expectations, as opposed to novelty detection, in behavioral auditory attentional capture.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 1939-1285
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:54

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