On the development of auditory distraction: A review



The present review focuses on the development of involuntary attention mechanisms in the context of the occurrence of unexpected events during childhood. We introduce a prevailing three-stage model of auditory involuntary attention describing the processes leading to, accompanying, and following the distraction of attention by prediction violations: (a) the automatic detection of prediction violations (associated with the event-related potential [ERP] component mismatch negativity [MMN]), (b) the involuntary orienting of attention processes towards the prediction violating sound (associated with the ERP component P3a), and (c) the reorienting back to task-relevant information (associated with the ERP components reorienting negativity [RON] or late discriminative negativity [LDN]). Within this framework we give an overview of studies investigating MMN, P3a, RON/LDN, and behavioral distraction effects in children. We discuss the development of the underlying involuntary attention mechanisms and highlight the relevance of and future perspectives for this important field of research.