Infrequent, salient stimuli often capture attention despite their task-irrelevancy, and disrupt on-going goal-directed behavior. A number of studies show that presenting cues signaling forthcoming deviants reduces distraction, which may be a "by-product" of cue-processing interference or the result of direct preparatory processes for the forthcoming distracter. In the present study, instead of "bursts" of cue information, information on the temporal structure of the stimulus sequence was provided. Young adults performed a spatial discrimination task where complex tones moving left or right were presented. In the predictable condition, every 7th tone was a pitch-deviant, while in the random condition the position of deviants was random with a probability of 1/7. Whereas the early event-related potential correlates of deviance-processing (N1 and MMN) were unaffected by predictability, P3a amplitude was significantly reduced in the predictable condition, indicating that prevention of distraction was based on the knowledge about the temporal structure of the stimulus sequence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Physiology (medical)