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Missing a Trick: Auditory Load Modulates Conscious Awareness in Audition

Fairnie, J; Moore, BCJ; Remington, A; (2016) Missing a Trick: Auditory Load Modulates Conscious Awareness in Audition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 10.1037/xhp0000204. Green open access

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Abstract

In the visual domain there is considerable evidence supporting the Load Theory of Attention and Cognitive Control, which holds that conscious perception of background stimuli depends on the level of perceptual load involved in a primary task. However, literature on the applicability of this theory to the auditory domain is limited and, in many cases, inconsistent. Here we present a novel “auditory search task” that allows systematic investigation of the impact of auditory load on auditory conscious perception. An array of simultaneous, spatially separated sounds was presented to participants. On half the trials, a critical stimulus was presented concurrently with the array. Participants were asked to detect which of 2 possible targets was present in the array (primary task), and whether the critical stimulus was present or absent (secondary task). Increasing the auditory load of the primary task (raising the number of sounds in the array) consistently reduced the ability to detect the critical stimulus. This indicates that, at least in certain situations, load theory applies in the auditory domain. The implications of this finding are discussed both with respect to our understanding of typical audition and for populations with altered auditory processing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Type: Article
Title: Missing a Trick: Auditory Load Modulates Conscious Awareness in Audition
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000204
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000204
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 American Psychological Association. This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475157
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