Distractor suppression supports target enhancement in auditory selective attention
Auditory selective attention is thought to consist of two mechanisms, an enhancement mechanism that boosts the target signal, and a suppression mechanism that attenuates concurrent distracting signals. The current study explored the conditions necessary to observe enhancement of predictable auditory objects. Participants heard scenes consisting of three voices and a distracting noise. They were asked to find the gender singleton (target) and report whether it was saying even or odd numbers. One of the voices appeared as the high-probability target (70%) across trials. We expected responses to be faster when the high-probability target was in the scene, and results from Experiment 1 supported that prediction. However, this target enhancement effect was substantially weakened when a distracting noise was also in the scene, suggesting that the distractor captured attention and interfered with enhancement. Experiment 2 tested the hypothesis that distractor predictability modulates target enhancement by varying the probability of the distractor. Results supported the prediction and demonstrated that participants who were able to suppress the high-probability distractor were also better able to enhance the high-probability target when that distractor was in the scene. These datasets were collected from undergraduate students in introductory psychology courses at The Ohio State University. There are 8 variables necessary to replicate analyses from Experiment 1. 4 of the variables refer to average accuracy within each condition per participant (Acc_H-D, Acc_H+D, Acc_L-D, Acc_L+D). These refer to whether the high-probability target voice was in the scene without (H-D) or with (H+D) a distractor, or whether the low-probability target voice was present without (L-D) or with (L+D) a distractor. 4 additional variables refer to average RT within each condition per participant (RT_H-D, RT_H+D, RT_L-D, RT_L+D). To replicate analyses from Experiment 2, 13 variables are important. 6 refer to average accuracy within each condition per participant (Acc_H-D, Acc_H+HD, Acc_H+LD, Acc_L-D, Acc_L+HD, Acc_L+LD). The first 3 refer to whether the high-probability target voice was in the scene with no distractor (H-D), with a high-probability distractor (H+HD), or with a low-probability distractor (H+LD). The second 3 refer to whether one of the low-probability target voices was in the scene with no distractor (L-D), with a high-probability distractor (L+HD), or with a low-probability distractor (L+LD). 6 additional variables refer to average RT within each condition per participant (RT_H-D, RT_H+HD, RT_H_LD, RT_L-D, RT_L+HD, RT_L+LD). Finally, the "sup" variable indicates whether each participant was classified as a suppressor (1) or non-suppressor (2). Data have already been cleaned according to the following procedures: (impermissible responses and intra-individual RT outliers removed). Please contact me if you would like the original data.