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    Salient sounds distort time perception and production

    Symons, Ashley and Dick, Fred and Tierney, Adam (2023) Salient sounds distort time perception and production. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review , ISSN 1069-9384.

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    The auditory world is often cacophonous, with some sounds capturing attention and distracting us from our goals. Despite the universality of this experience, many questions remain about how and why sound captures attention, how rapidly behavior is disrupted, and how long this interference lasts. Here we use a novel measure of behavioral disruption to test predictions made by models of auditory salience. Models predict that goal-directed behavior is disrupted immediately after points in time that feature a high degree of spectrotemporal change. We find that behavioral disruption is precisely time-locked to the onset of distracting sound events: participants who tap to a metronome temporarily increase their tapping speed 750 ms after the onset of distractors. Moreover, this response is greater for more salient sounds (larger amplitude) and sound changes (greater pitch shift). We find that the time course of behavioral disruption is highly similar after acoustically disparate sound events: both sound onsets and pitch shifts of continuous background sounds speed responses at 750 ms, with these effects dying out by 1750 ms. These temporal distortions can be observed using only data from the first trial across participants. A potential mechanism underlying these results is that arousal increases after distracting sound events, leading to an expansion of time perception, and causing participants to misjudge when their next movement should begin.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): attention capture, reaction time methods, reaction time analysis, cognitive neuroscience of perception and attention
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Ashley Symons
    Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2023 12:46
    Last Modified: 04 Aug 2023 15:04


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