Intermodal selective attention. II. Effects of attentional load on processing of auditory and visual stimuli in central space

Kimmo Alho, David L Woods, Alain Algazi, Risto Näätänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

296 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effect of processing load on event-related brain potentials (ERPs) was investigated in an intermodal selective attention task in which subjects attended selectively to auditory or visual stimuli. Processing load was manipulated by requiring subjects to detect either difficult-to-detect (deviant) or easy-to-detect (DEVIANT) targets in separate blocks of trials. Attention to auditory stimuli was associated with negative (Nda, 90-170 msec) and positive (Pda, 190-270 msec) enhancements in the ERPs to auditory stimuli. The Nda increased in amplitude with increasing processing load. Deviant auditory stimuli occurring among auditory standard stimuli elicited frontally distributed mismatch negativities (MMNs). The MMN persisted during visual attention and was unaffected by visual processing load. However, the MMN to deviants but not DEVIANTS was enhanced in amplitude with auditory attention. Attention to visual stimuli resulted in positive (Pdv, latency 70-130 msec) and negative (Ndv, 170-270 msec) modulations of visual ERPs, that increased with increasing processing load. Prominent visual deviance-related negativities were observed at occipital and infero-temporal scalp sites (latencies 90-290 msec), but only to DEVIANT visual stimuli. The early MMN-like portion of the visual deviance-related negativity was independent of attention, with equal amplitudes during different auditory and visual conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-368
Number of pages13
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Volume82
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Auditory
  • Event-related potentials
  • Intermodal
  • Visual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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