Distractor clustering enhances detection speed and accuracy during selective listening

Claude Alain, David L Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of distractor clustering on target detection were examined in two experiments in which subjects attended to binaural tone bursts of one frequency while ignoring distracting tones of two competing frequencies. The subjects pressed a button in response to occasional target tones of longer duration (Experiment 1) or increased loudness (Experiment 2). In evenly spaced conditions, attended and distractor frequencies differed by 6 and 12 semitones, respectively (e.g., 2096-Hz targets vs. 1482- and 1048-Hz distractors). In clustered conditions, distractor frequencies were grouped; attended tones differed from the distractors by 6 and 7 semitones, respectively (e.g., 2096-Hz targets vs. 1482- and 1400-Hz distractors). The tones were presented in randomized sequences at fixed or random stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs). In both experiments, clustering of the unattended frequencies improved the detectability of targets and speeded target reaction times, Similar effects were found at fixed and variable SO As. Results from the analysis of stimulus sequence suggest that clustering improved performance primarily by reducing the interference caused by distractors that immediately preceded the target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-514
Number of pages6
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)

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