Author(s): Thierry G, Roberts MV
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Abstract Affective pictures trigger attentional responses in humans but very little is known about the processing of affective environmental sounds. Here, we used an oddball event-related potential paradigm to determine the saliency of unpleasant sounds presented among affectively neutral sounds. Participants performed a one-back task while listening to pseudo-randomized sound sequences comprising 70\% neutral sounds, 15\% unpleasant sounds of matched peak intensity, and 15\% louder neutral sounds. Louder neutral sounds elicited a larger N1 component and a significant P3a variation with a central distribution. Unpleasant sounds did not affect early components but elicited a significant frontocentral P3a modulation. We conclude that affective environmental sounds spontaneously capture human attention but fail to modulate early perceptual processing when sound peak intensity is controlled.
This article was published in Neuroreport
and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics