Human event-related potentials and distraction during selective listening

Wido Nager, Oliver Rosenthal, Ina Bohrer, Wolfgang A. Teder-Sälejärvi, Thomas F. Münte*

*Corresponding author for this work
9 Citations (Scopus)


Event-related brain potentials were recorded from healthy human subjects while they attended to one of two auditory stimulus channels (defined by location, left and right of a fixation point, and pitch) in order to detect rare target events. The distracting properties of periodic noise (vs. continuous noise, experiment 1) and backward speech (vs. forward speech, experiment 2) presented from a third speaker located behind the subjects were investigated. A typical attention effect with a larger negativity for attended tones was observed in both experiments. Backward speech led to a significantly reduced target detection rate for the first four stimuli after onset of the distractor accompanied by a reduced event-related brain potential (ERP)-attention effect and a reduced fronto-central N2b component for the target stimuli. This indicates that irrelevant information leads to an attention decrement of about 1 s duration. Copyright (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 05.01.2001

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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