Involuntary spatial attention influences auditory processing: evidence from human electrophysiology

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
The appearance of spatially non-predictive auditory cues can attract attention resulting in facilitation or inhibition of responses to subsequent targets at short or long cue-target intervals, respectively. With most research focusing on visual and crossmodal spatial attention, little is known about the neural mechanisms associated with auditory cue effects. The present study used ERPs to investigate the consequences of involuntary auditory spatial attention on the neural processing of sounds in spatial and non-spatial go/no-go tasks. The negative-difference component – which is known to reflect attentional enhancement of target processing – was observed in both experiments, indicating that salient, spatially non-predictive auditory cues captured attention. A subsequent positive difference was observed only in the spatial task, suggesting this component corresponds with the presence or absence of RT cue effects in auditory spatial cueing tasks. In both tasks, auditory sounds activated occipital regions, suggesting that visual regions are involved in processing auditory stimuli.
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Thesis advisor: McDonald, John J.
Thesis advisor: Wright, Richard
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