Preventing distraction: assessing stimulus-specific and general effects of the predictive cueing of deviant auditory events.
ABSTRACT: Rare irregular sounds (deviants) embedded into a regular sound sequence have large potential to draw attention to themselves (distraction). It has been previously shown that distraction, as manifested by behavioral response delay, and the P3a and reorienting negativity (RON) event-related potentials, could be reduced when the forthcoming deviant was signaled by visual cues preceding the sounds. In the present study, we investigated the type of information used in the prevention of distraction by manipulating the information content of the visual cues preceding the sounds. Cues could signal the specific variant of the forthcoming deviant, or they could just signal that the next tone was a deviant. We found that stimulus-specific cue information was used in reducing distraction. The results also suggest that early P3a and RON index processes related to the specific deviating stimulus feature, whereas late P3a reflects a general distraction-related process.
Project description:Oddball studies have shown that sounds unexpectedly deviating from an otherwise repeated sequence capture attention away from the task at hand. While such distraction is typically regarded as potentially important in everyday life, previous work has so far not examined how deviant sounds affect performance on more complex daily tasks. In this study, we developed a new method to examine whether deviant sounds can disrupt reading performance by recording participants' eye movements. Participants read single sentences in silence and while listening to task-irrelevant sounds. In the latter condition, a 50-ms sound was played contingent on the fixation of five target words in the sentence. On most occasions, the same tone was presented (standard sound), whereas on rare and unexpected occasions it was replaced by white noise (deviant sound). The deviant sound resulted in significantly longer fixation durations on the target words relative to the standard sound. A time-course analysis showed that the deviant sound began to affect fixation durations around 180?ms after fixation onset. Furthermore, deviance distraction was not modulated by the lexical frequency of target words. In summary, fixation durations on the target words were longer immediately after the presentation of the deviant sound, but there was no evidence that it interfered with the lexical processing of these words. The present results are in line with the recent proposition that deviant sounds yield a temporary motor suppression and suggest that deviant sounds likely inhibit the programming of the next saccade.
Project description:Genetically determined cerebellar ataxias (CA) are a heterogeneous group of disorders with progressive decline of cerebellar functions. The cerebellum influences internal forward models that play a role in cognitive control, but whether these processes are dysfunctional in CA is unclear. Here, we examined sensory predictive coding processes and response adaptation in CA and healthy controls (HC) using behavioral tests with concomitant EEG recordings. N = 23 patients and N = 29 age- and sex-matched HC were studied. Sensory prediction coding was tested with an auditory distraction paradigm and error-related behavioral adaptation with a visual flanker task. As neurophysiological markers we studied different event-related potentials: the P3a for orientation of attention; the N2 and the error-related negativity (ERN) for cognitive adaptation processes/consequences of response errors; error-related positivity (Pe) for error-awareness; the mismatch negativity (MMN) for sensory predictive coding; and reorientation negativity (RON) for reorientation after unexpected events. Overall reaction times were slower in patients compared to HC, but error rates did not differ. Both in patients and HC, P3a amplitudes were larger in distraction trials, but the P3a amplitude was smaller in patients compared to HC. The MMN as well as behavioral and EEG-correlates of response adaptation (ERN/N2) did not differ between groups, while the Pe was attenuated in patients. During sensory predictive coding, RON amplitudes were significantly larger in HC compared to patients. In HC, but not in patients, RON amplitudes were also larger in deviant compared to frequent trials. Processes generating internal forward models are largely intact in genetically determined CA, whereas updating of mental models and error awareness are disturbed in these patients.
Project description:The identification of reliable biomarkers for early diagnosis and progression tracking of neurodegenerative diseases has become an important objective in clinical neuroscience in the last years. The P3a event-related potential, considered as the neurophysiological hallmark of novelty detection, has been shown to be reduced in Parkinson's disease (PD) and proposed as a sensitive measure for illness duration and severity. Our aim for this study was to explore for the first time whether impaired novelty detection could be observed through phase- and time-locked brain oscillatory activity at early PD. Twenty-seven patients with idiopathic PD at early stages (disease duration <5?years and Hoehn and Yahr stage <3) were included. A healthy control group (n?=?24) was included as well. All participants performed an auditory involuntary attention task including frequent and deviant tones while a digital EEG was obtained. A neuropsychological battery was administered as well. Time-frequency representations of power and phase-locked oscillations and P3a amplitudes were compared between groups. We found a significant reduction of power and phase locking of slow oscillations (3-7?Hz) for deviant tones in the PD group compared to controls in the P3a time range (300-550?ms). Also, reduced modulation of late induced (not phase locked) alpha-beta oscillations (400-650?ms, 8-25?Hz) was observed in the PD group after deviant tones onset. The P3a amplitude was predicted by years of evolution in the PD group. Finally, while phase-locked slow oscillations were associated with task behavioral distraction effects, induced alpha-beta activity was related to cognitive flexibility performance. Our results show that novelty detection impairment can be identified in neurophysiological terms from very early stages of PD, and such impairment increases linearly as the disease progresses. Also, induced alpha-beta oscillations underlying novelty detection are related to executive functioning.
Project description:The event-related potential (ERP) technique has been shown to be useful for evaluating changes in brain electrical activity associated with different cognitive processes, particularly in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Longitudinal studies have shown that a high proportion of people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) go on to develop AD. aMCI is divided into two subtypes according to the presence of memory impairment only (single-domain aMCI: sdaMCI) or impairment of memory and other cognitive domains (multi-domain aMCI: mdaMCI). The main aim of this study was to examine the effects of sdaMCI and mdaMCI on the P3a ERP component associated with the involuntary orientation of attention toward unattended infrequent novel auditory stimuli. Participants performed an auditory-visual distraction-attention task, in which they were asked to ignore the auditory stimuli (standard, deviant, and novel) and to attend to the visual stimuli (responding to some of them: Go stimuli). P3a was identified in the Novel minus Standard difference waveforms, and reaction times (RTs) and hits (in response to Go stimuli) were also analyzed. Participants were classified into three groups: Control, 20 adults (mean age (M): 65.8 years); sdaMCI, 19 adults (M: 67 years); and mdaMCI, 11 adults (M: 71 years). In all groups, the RTs were significantly longer when Go stimuli were preceded by novel (relative to standard) auditory stimuli, suggesting a distraction effect triggered by novel stimuli; mdaMCI participants made significantly fewer hits than control and sdaMCI participants. P3a comprised two consecutive phases in all groups: early-P3a (e-P3a), which may reflect the orienting response toward the irrelevant stimuli, and late-P3a (l-P3a), which may be a correlate of subsequent evaluation of these stimuli. The e-P3a amplitude was significantly larger in mdaMCI than in sdaMCI participants, and the l-P3a amplitude was significantly larger in mdaMCI than in sdaMCI and Control participants, indicating greater involuntary capture of attention to unattended novel auditory stimuli and allocation of more attentional resources for the subsequent evaluation of these stimuli in mdaMCI participants. The e-P3a and l-P3a components showed moderate to high sensitivity and specificity for distinguishing between groups, suggesting that both may represent optimal neurocognitive markers for differentiating aMCI subtypes.
Project description:We investigated the MMN at electrode Fz to 12% temporally predictable or unpredictable duration decrement deviant stimuli in 29 healthy controls and 31 schizophrenia patients. With a stimulus onset asynchronicity of 500 ms in the regular predictable condition, a deviant occurred every 4 s while it varied randomly in the unpredictable condition. Here we report detailed data tables and multivariate analysis of variance results (MANOVA) on MMN, P3a and standard ERP data including details on follow-up analyses. An extended figure shows MMN difference curves and averages to standard and deviant stimuli in both experimental conditions and subject groups.
Project description:Deviants are stimuli that violate one's prediction about the incoming stimuli. Studying deviance detection helps us understand how nervous system learns temporal patterns between stimuli and forms prediction about the future. Detecting deviant stimuli is also critical for animals' survival in the natural environment filled with complex sounds and patterns. Using natural songbird vocalizations as stimuli, we recorded multi-unit and single-unit activity from the zebra finch auditory forebrain while presenting rare repeated stimuli after regular alternating stimuli (alternating oddball experiment) or rare deviant among multiple different common stimuli (context oddball experiment). The alternating oddball experiment showed that neurons were sensitive to rare repetitions in regular alternations. In the absence of expectation, repetition suppresses neural responses to the 2nd stimulus in the repetition. When repetition violates expectation, neural responses to the 2nd stimulus in the repetition were stronger than expected. The context oddball experiment showed that a stimulus elicits stronger neural responses when it is presented infrequently as a deviant among multiple common stimuli. As the acoustic differences between deviant and common stimuli increase, the response enhancement also increases. These results together showed that neural encoding of a stimulus depends not only on the acoustic features of the stimulus but also on the preceding stimuli and the transition patterns between them. These results also imply that the classical oddball effect may result from a combination of repetition suppression and deviance enhancement. Classification analyses showed that the difficulties in decoding the stimulus responsible for the neural responses differed for deviants in different experimental conditions. These findings suggest that learning transition patterns and detecting deviants in natural sequences may depend on a hierarchy of neural mechanisms, which may be involved in more complex forms of auditory processing that depend on the transition patterns between stimuli, such as speech processing.
Project description:In this study a cross-modal oddball task was employed to study the effect that words spoken either non-urgently or urgently would have on a digit categorization task and if women would exhibit greater behavioral inhibitory control. The words were unrelated to the task itself, but related to the action required to complete the task. Forty participants (21 women) conducted a computerized categorization task while exposed to a sinewave tone as a standard stimulus (75% of the trials) or a to-be ignored word (press, stop) spoken either non-urgently or urgently as unexpected auditory deviant stimulus (6.25% trials for each category). Urgent words had sharp intonation and an average fundamental frequency (F0) ranging from 191.9 (stop) to 204.6 (press) Hz. Non-urgent words had low intonation with average F0 ranging from 103.9.9 (stop) to 120.3 (press) Hz. As expected, deviant distraction and longer response times were found by exposure to the word stop, but deviant distraction was not found to be significant with the word press or due to intonation. While the results showed that women had in general longer reaction times, there were no gender differences found related to the deviant distraction caused by word or intonation. The present results do not support the hypothesis that women have greater behavioral inhibitory control, but there was evidence that the meaning of the word could influence response times.
Project description:Auditory hallucinations (AHs) are among the cardinal symptoms of schizophrenia (SZ). During the presence of AHs aberrant activity of auditory cortices have been observed, including hyperactivation during AHs alone and hypoactivation when AHs are accompanied by a concurrent external auditory competitor. Mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a are common ERPs of interest within the study of SZ as they are robustly reduced in the chronic phase of the illness. The present study aimed to explore whether background noise altered the auditory MMN and P3a in those with SZ and treatment-resistant AHs. Methods MMN and P3a were assessed in 12 hallucinating patients (HPs), 11 non-hallucinating patients (NPs) and 9 healthy controls (HCs) within an auditory oddball paradigm. Standard (P = 0.85) and deviant (P = 0.15) stimuli were presented during three noise conditions: silence (SL), traffic noise (TN), and wide-band white noise (WN). Results HPs showed significantly greater deficits in MMN amplitude relative to NPs in all background noise conditions, though predominantly at central electrodes. Conversely, both NPs and HPs exhibited significant deficits in P3a amplitude relative to HCs under the SL condition only. Significance These findings suggest that the presence of AHs may specifically impair the MMN, while the P3a appears to be more generally impaired in SZ. That MMN amplitudes are specifically reduced for HPs during background noise conditions suggests HPs may have a harder time detecting changes in phonemic sounds during situations with external traffic or “real-world” noise compared to NPs.
Project description:Electrophysiological and psychophysical responses to a low-intensity probe sound tend to be suppressed by a preceding high-intensity adaptor sound. Nevertheless, rare low-intensity deviant sounds presented among frequent high-intensity standard sounds in an intensity oddball paradigm can elicit an electroencephalographic mismatch negativity (MMN) response. This has been taken to suggest that the MMN is a correlate of true change or "deviance" detection. A key question is where in the ascending auditory pathway true deviance sensitivity first emerges. Here, we addressed this question by measuring low-intensity deviant responses from single units in the inferior colliculus (IC) of anesthetized rats. If the IC exhibits true deviance sensitivity to intensity, IC neurons should show enhanced responses to low-intensity deviant sounds presented among high-intensity standards. Contrary to this prediction, deviant responses were only enhanced when the standards and deviants differed in frequency. The results could be explained with a model assuming that IC neurons integrate over multiple frequency-tuned channels and that adaptation occurs within each channel independently. We used an adaptation paradigm with multiple repeated adaptors to measure the tuning widths of these adaption channels in relation to the neurons' overall tuning widths.
Project description:Although sensory processing abnormalities contribute to widespread cognitive and psychosocial impairments in schizophrenia (SZ) patients, scalp-channel measures of averaged event-related potentials (ERPs) mix contributions from distinct cortical source-area generators, diluting the functional relevance of channel-based ERP measures. SZ patients (n = 42) and non-psychiatric comparison subjects (n = 47) participated in a passive auditory duration oddball paradigm, eliciting a triphasic (Deviant-Standard) tone ERP difference complex, here termed the auditory deviance response (ADR), comprised of a mid-frontal mismatch negativity (MMN), P3a positivity, and re-orienting negativity (RON) peak sequence. To identify its cortical sources and to assess possible relationships between their response contributions and clinical SZ measures, we applied independent component analysis to the continuous 68-channel EEG data and clustered the resulting independent components (ICs) across subjects on spectral, ERP, and topographic similarities. Six IC clusters centered in right superior temporal, right inferior frontal, ventral mid-cingulate, anterior cingulate, medial orbitofrontal, and dorsal mid-cingulate cortex each made triphasic response contributions. Although correlations between measures of SZ clinical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning and standard (Fz) scalp-channel ADR peak measures were weak or absent, for at least four IC clusters one or more significant correlations emerged. In particular, differences in MMN peak amplitude in the right superior temporal IC cluster accounted for 48% of the variance in SZ-subject performance on tasks necessary for real-world functioning and medial orbitofrontal cluster P3a amplitude accounted for 40%/54% of SZ-subject variance in positive/negative symptoms. Thus, source-resolved auditory deviance response measures including MMN may be highly sensitive to SZ clinical, cognitive, and functional characteristics.