Co-representation vs. attenuation: whether motor representation of a distractor makes it more or less distracting
School/Affiliation:Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada
Co-Authors:Trainor, Laurel and Cannon, Jonathan
Virtual or In-person:In-person
In information processing tasks, humans can selectively focus attention to ignore distracting information (visual: selective attention task, auditory: cocktail party). Yet, this ability can be modulated by our internal representation of the task and the distractors (social Simon effect). In this work, we conducted an experiment to test whether a motor representation of a distractor sound makes it more or less distracting in a synchronization task. In the experiment, participants are requested to synchronize taps to a target metronome while a lagged distractor metronome is also present. Within each experiment block, participants performed interleaved priming task sub-blocks intended to induce a specific internal representation of the upcoming distractor. The priming task could either be counting target metronome sounds (no familiarity condition), counting a new sound that would be the distractor in the synchronization task (sound familiarity condition) or continuing a metronome by producing a sound that would be the distractor in the following trials (motor representation condition). Block order and sound-to-condition assignment were counter-balanced between participants. We inspected changes in mean asynchrony and asynchrony variability between familiarity conditions and distractor-to-metronome lag. In an initial sample of 23 participants, we only found an effect of distractor lag, replicating previous work. We found no effects of familiarity condition, at any distractor-to-metronome lag. We propose carrying out a follow-up experiment where priming trials are interleaved before each synchronization trial. This new design looks to increase priming effects and avoid priming degradation through the synchronization sub-block.