Cognitive control in auditory processing

Research Area: Research Year: 2008
Type of Publication: Phd Thesis
Authors: Sætrevik, Bjørn
The dichotic listening experimental paradigm creates an ambiguous situation for the participant by presenting two auditory stimuli simultaneously, one in each ear. Which of the stimuli the participant reports has previously been shown to depend on language lateralization and attention instructions. The current work presents three studies that introduce a novel way of manipulating which stimulus is reported in dichotic listening. The first report showed that priming one of the stimuli in the dichotic situation biases response selection away from the primed dichotic stimulus, and that the manipulation is effective with both auditory and visual priming. The second report showed that the priming manipulation can be combined with the more traditional attention instructions manipulation, and that the two types of experimental manipulation showed an interaction. The third report used fMRI to show that the task evokes activation in posterior medial frontal and right ventrolateral brain areas, and presented a theoretical model in which the activations reflect detection of cognitive conflict and inhibition, respectively. The present thesis thus shows that priming in the dichotic listening experimental paradigm modulates cognitive mechanisms, which has effects on response selection. The experimental task may prove useful as an easily administered test of inhibition in the auditory domain, with implications for examining attention functions in healthy and clinical groups.
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