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Visual Task Demands and the Auditory Mismatch Negativity: An Empirical Study and a Meta-Analysis
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
2016 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 11, no 1, e0146567Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Because the auditory system is particularly useful in monitoring the environment, previous research has examined whether task-irrelevant, auditory distracters are processed even if subjects focus their attention on visual stimuli. This research suggests that attentionally demanding visual tasks decrease the auditory mismatch negativity (MMN) to simultaneously presented auditory distractors. Because a recent behavioral study found that high visual perceptual load decreased detection sensitivity of simultaneous tones, we used a similar task (n= 28) to determine if high visual perceptual load would reduce the auditory MMN. Results suggested that perceptual load did not decrease the MMN. At face value, these nonsignificant findings may suggest that effects of perceptual load on the MMN are smaller than those of other demanding visual tasks. If so, effect sizes should differ systematically between the present and previous studies. We conducted a selective meta-analysis of published studies in which the MMN was derived from the EEG, the visual task demands were continuous and varied between high and low within the same task, and the task-irrelevant tones were presented in a typical oddball paradigm simultaneously with the visual stimuli. Because the meta-analysis suggested that the present (null) findings did not differ systematically from previous findings, the available evidence was combined. Results of this meta-analysis confirmed that demanding visual tasks reduce the MMN to auditory distracters. However, because the meta-analysis was based on small studies and because of the risk for publication biases, future studies should be preregistered with large samples (n > 150) to provide confirmatory evidence for the results of the present meta-analysis. These future studies should also use control conditions that reduce confounding effects of neural adaptation, and use load manipulations that are defined independently from their effects on the MMN.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 11, no 1, e0146567
Keyword [en]
visual, auditory, perceptual load, mismatch negativity
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-126103DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146567ISI: 000367810600057OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-126103DiVA: diva2:897269
Note

This work was funded by internal funds from Stockholm University and a research grant from the Swedish Research Council (421-2010-1697).

Available from: 2016-01-25 Created: 2016-01-25 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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Wiens, StefanSzychowska, MalinaNilsson, Mats E.
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