Poster #: 44
Topic: Development (infancy, childhood, adolescence, and aging)
Thursday, Sep 10, 2015
Age differences in the processing of sound's novelty and information as reflected by ERPs, pupil size, and performance
1Institute of Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
2Institute for Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
3Cognitive and Biological Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
The present study focuses on effects of novelty and information provided by task-irrelevant sounds on involuntary attention and distraction in children (aged 6-7 years) and adults. We presented an auditory-visual oddball paradigm while participants performed a visual categorization task. In an informative condition all sounds were followed by a visual target. Sounds were irrelevant for the visual categorization task, but predicted the occurrence of a target. In an uninformative condition only half of the sounds were followed by a target, that is, sounds were uninformative with respect to the occurrence of a visual target. We measured ERPs, pupil dilation response (PDR), and reaction times (RT). Results revealed different effects of sound's novelty or informational content reflected by differences in the ERP components N1, P2, N2, the PDR, and the RT in subsequent trials between the age groups. Results demonstrate that several steps of the processing of new and informative but task-irrelevant sounds are not yet matured until the middle childhood. Importantly, effects of sound's novelty and information on the pupil size observed in both age groups indicate that brain mechanisms involved in pupil control are modulated by sounds' novelty and target-related information. Moreover, these effects are partly different between children and adults.