Poster B10, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
An attentional mechanism for minimizing cross-modal distraction
Lauren Grant1, Daniel Weissman1; 1University of Michigan
Prior findings suggest that coping with distraction relies on cognitive control processes that increase attention to task-relevant processing, decrease attention to task-irrelevant processing, or both. Consistent with this view, the congruency effect in unimodal Stroop-like tasks, a measure of distraction, is often smaller after more distracting incongruent trials than after less distracting congruent trials. It remains unclear, however, whether, and under what conditions, the control processes underlying this congruency sequence effect (CSE) minimize cross-modal distraction. The contingent attentional capture hypothesis predicts a cross-modal CSE when a distracter possesses a target-defining feature. In contrast, the perceptual conflict hypothesis predicts a cross-modal CSE when there is perceptual conflict between a distracter and a target. To distinguish between these hypotheses, we conducted two experiments wherein an auditory distracter word preceded a visual target that appeared in one of two formats (i.e., word or arrow). We observed robust, cross-modal CSEs. Moreover, the pattern of CSEs that we observed was more consistent with the contingent attentional capture hypothesis than with the perceptual conflict hypothesis. These findings reveal a novel attentional mechanism for minimizing cross-modal distraction.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Multisensory