The effects of ongoing distraction on the neural processes underlying signal detection.
Distraction can impede our ability to detect and effectively process task-relevant stimuli in our environment. Here we leveraged the high temporal resolution of event-related potentials (ERPs) to study the neural consequences of a global, continuous distractor on signal-detection processes. Healthy, young adults performed the dSAT task, a translational sustained-attention task that has been used across different species and in clinical groups, in the presence and absence of ongoing distracting stimulation. We found the presence of distracting stimuli impaired participants' ability to behaviorally detect task-relevant signal stimuli and greatly affected the neural cascade of processes underlying signal detection. Specifically, we found distraction reduced an anterior and a posterior early-latency N2 ERP component (~140-220ms) and modulated long-latency, detection-related P3 components (P3a: ~200-330ms, P3b: 300-700ms), even to correctly detected targets. These data provide evidence that distraction can induce powerful alterations in the neural processes related to signal detection, even when stimuli are behaviorally detected.
Demeter, E; De Alburquerque, D; Woldorff, MG
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