Cognitive control in the cocktail party: Preparing selective attention to dichotically presented voices supports distractor suppression
- 192 Downloads
The goal of the present study was to investigate preparatory mechanisms of auditory selective attention. In two experiments, participants performed a classification task on one of two dichotically presented spoken number words, one spoken by a female, one spoken by a male. A cue indicated which gender participants had to attend to in the upcoming trial, so that attention switches and repetitions occurred randomly. The cue-target interval (CTI) was either 400 ms or 1,200 ms. Stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between target and distractor word varied; hence, the distractor could be presented before or after the target. In two experiments, we found robust performance costs of attention switches. Like in previous studies using versions of this paradigm, these switch costs were not significantly reduced by prolonged CTI, even though we found substantial general cue-based preparation effects. The most important finding refers to the influence of SOA, showing that the general preparation effect was greater in the condition with the distractor presented first than in the condition with the target presented first. Thus, increased time to prepare for the attention focus of the upcoming trials seems to benefit distractor suppression more than target enhancement. This occurred in switch trials and repetition trials alike, suggesting that it is a general feature of auditory attention.
KeywordsAuditory selective attention Cognitive control Task-switching Preparation Dichotic listening
We thank our participants for their participation and our reviewers. Camellia N. Ibrahim is now at Heinrich-Heine-University Düesseldorf. This study was funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments by a grant awarded to Sophie Nolden.
- Bregman, A. S. (1990). Auditory scene analysis: The perceptual organization of sound. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Chao, H. F. (2010). Top-down attentional control for distractor locations: The benefit of precuing distractor locations on target localization and discrimination. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36, 303-3016.Google Scholar
- Hugdahl, K. (2011). Fifty years of dichotic listening research- Still going and going and… Brain and Cognition [Dichotic Listenting Anniversary Special Issue], 76, 211-213.Google Scholar
- Jost, K., De Baene, W., Koch, I., & Brass, M. (2013). A review of the role of cue processing in task switching. Zeitschrift fuer Psychologie, 221, 5-14.Google Scholar
- Koch, I., Lawo, V., Fels, J., & Vorländer, M. (2011). Switching in the cocktail party: Exploring intentional control of auditory selective attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37, 1140-1147.Google Scholar
- Lawo, V., & Koch, I. (2014). Dissociable effects of auditory attention switching and stimulus-response compatibility. Psychological Research [Special Issue Auditory Attention], 78, 379-386.Google Scholar
- Meiran, N. (1996). Reconfiguration of processing mode prior to task performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 22, 1423-1442.Google Scholar