Preserved sensory processing but hampered conflict detection when stimulus input is task-irrelevant

Published on by S.A. Nuiten
For this project, two omnibus experiments were performed to test whether conflict between two sensory features is detectable by the brain under various levels of task-relevance of these features. In each experiment human participants performed multiple behavioral tasks (6 tasks in total), during which the spoken words 'left' and 'right' were presented from either a speaker located on the left or right side of the participant, occasionally causing conflict between the content and location of the auditory stimulus. We measured behavioral and EEG data, to assert whether behavioral and neural effects of conflict were present in the different behavioral tasks. We applied a multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) in the time-frequency domain on our EEG data to inspect the presence of conflict-induced theta-band oscillations (4-8Hz),. With the two experiments we show that conflict between sound content and location is detected when one of the features of the auditory stimulus is task-relevant (even a non-conflicting one), or when the auditory features overlap with responses made in a separate, non-auditory, task. However, conflict processing was hampered when the auditory features were fully task-irrelevant and orthogonal to the response. This project contains the data (behavior, EEG) and analyses scripts (MATLAB) for the manuscript: "Preserved sensory processing but hampered conflict detection when stimulus input is task-irrelevant". There are four data-sets, containing (1) raw behavioral data, (2) raw EEG data, (3) decoded EEG data in time-frequency domain, and (4) decoded EEG data in time-domain. In order to reproduce the analyses used for this manuscript, the analysis scripts presume a specific folder structure for these data. The details of this structure are discussed within the scripts. Note that all statistics, except cluster-based t-tests of time(-frequency) decoding data, were performed externally in JASP. For specifics on these tests, please refer to the manuscript.

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H2020 European Research Council (ERC) - ERC-2016-STG_715605

Research priority area

  • Brain & Cognition