Effects of Task Demands in the Auditory Attentional Blink


  • Cory Gerritsen
  • Elzbieta Slawinski
  • David Eagle


Auditory perception may be modified by attentional mechanisms. Forward informational masking, an attentional phenomenon, was studied as a function of time and task demands. A rapid auditory presentation (RAP) task involving timbre-based streaming of to-be-attended sound signals from distractors was used to assess the report of a to-be-attended signal (Probe; “P”). The experiment consisted of a sequence of distractors alone, or following another to-be-attended signal (Target; “T”), in various conditions. Participants (29 undergraduate psychology students) were asked either to simply detect or to identify P at various Stimulus Onset Asynchronies (SOAs) after T. Learning effects were also examined. Response task was found to be irrelevant to decrements, while decrements were generally ameliorated as SOA increased, and as experience with the tasks increased. These performance decrements represent an auditory attentional blink.