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Re: unattended streams

On Sun, 27 May 2001, Bob Carlyon wrote:
> R.P. Carlyon, R. Cusack, J.M. Foxton, and I.H. Robertson (2001). "Effects
> of attention and unilateral neglect on auditory stream segregation",
> Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27,
> 115-127.
> In terms of reconciling our results with other findings, I would say the
> following: What we did was to give subjects a demanding auditory task in
> one ear during the 1st 10 seconds of a streaming sequence presented to the
> opposite ear. When subjects switched attention to the streaming sequence
> they reported much less segregation than in a task where they attended to
> the streaming sequence throughout. This shows that diverting attention can
> greatly reduce the build-up of streaming. However, a less demanding task
> (or perhaps one in another modality) may allow SOME streaming to build up.

Not at all what I would have expected! It will be interesting to see what
you find from the monaural experiments you suggest (on p.124) removing the
variation in location. If there is still minimal organization of the
background that could have very broad practical implications.
 Would that mean that when listening to a mix of sounds and a distraction
in the background draws your attention for a moment you're likely to miss
a few seconds of information in the target stream rather than diving
straight back into it?


Michael Norris

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