A left-ear disadvantage for the presentation of irrelevant sound: Manipulations of task requirements and changing state
Three experiments attempted to clarify the effect of altering the spatial presentation of irrelevant auditory information. Previous research using serial recall tasks demonstrated a left-ear disadvantage for the presentation of irrelevant sounds (Hadlington, Bridges, & Darby, 2004). Experiments 1 and 2 examined the effects of manipulating the location of irrelevant sound on either a mental arithmetic task (Banbury & Berry, 1998) or a missing-item task (Jones & Macken, 1993; Experiment 4). Experiment 3 altered the amount of change in the irrelevant stream to assess how this affected the level of interference elicited. Two prerequisites appear necessary to produce the left ear disadvantage; the presence of ordered structural changes in the irrelevant sound and the requirement for serial order processing of the attended information. The existence of a left-ear disadvantage highlights the role of the right hemisphere in the obligatory processing of auditory information.
Citation:Hadlington, L.J., Bridges, A., and Beaman, P. (2006) A left-ear disadvantage for the presentation of irrelevant sound: Manipulations of task requirements and changing state. Brain and Cognition, 61 (2), pp. 159-171