Object-based suppression is influenced by statistical learning in auditory selective attention

Published: 11-08-2020| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/kj79d2wnky.2
Heather Daly


Auditory selective attention is thought to facilitate listening to the sound of interest (e.g., voice or music) in a noisy environment. One mechanism thought to underlie this ability is suppression of distracting stimuli. However, little is known about its operation or characteristics. We tested whether suppression in auditory selective attention capitalizes on statistical regularities in the environment to facilitate attention. Participants listened to seven-second scenes consisting of several voices speaking sequences of numbers and a distractor, which occurred more (70%) or less (30%) frequently across trials. Participants had to find the voice that was a gender singleton and report whether it was saying even or odd numbers. If suppression is an active component of auditory selective attention, task performance was expected to be better when the more frequent distractor was present. Results across the experiment and two replications revealed significantly faster RTs when the high-probability distractor was in the scene relative to the low-probability distractor. This result demonstrates that suppression mitigates the detrimental influence of a frequently occurring distracting sound. This dataset was collected from undergraduate students in introductory psychology courses at The Ohio State University. There are 7 variables necessary to replicate analyses. Three of the variables refer to average accuracy within each condition per participant (Acc_High, Acc_Low, Acc_None). These refer to whether the high-probability distractor was in the scene, whether the low-probability distractor was present, or whether no distractor was present, respectively. Three additional variables refer to average RT within each condition per participant (RT_High, RT_Low, RT_None). Experiment indicates which experiment each participant completed. Note that these 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.