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Altering the primacy bias—How does a prior task affect mismatch negativity?

Authors

  • Daniel Mullens,

    1. School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
    2. Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
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  • Jessica Woodley,

    1. School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
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  • Lisa Whitson,

    1. School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
    2. Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
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  • Alexander Provost,

    1. School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
    2. Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
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  • Andrew Heathcote,

    1. School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
    2. Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
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  • István Winkler,

    1. Schizophrenia Research Institute, Darlinghurst, Australia
    2. Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Research Centre for Natural Sciences, MTA, Budapest, Hungary
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  • Juanita Todd

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
    2. Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia
    3. Institute of Psychology, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
    • Address correspondence to: Juanita Todd, School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan, NSW, Australia, 2308. E-mail: Juanita.Todd@newcastle.edu.au

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  • This research was supported by Project Grant 1002995 from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and through infrastructure support from the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle, the Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research, and the Schizophrenia Research Institute.

Abstract

The role in which two tones are first encountered in an unattended oddball sequence affects how deviance detection, reflected by mismatch negativity, treats them later when the roles reverse: a “primacy bias.” We tested whether this effect is modulated by previous behavioral relevance assigned to the two tones. To this end, sequences in which the roles of the two tones alternated were preceded by a go/no-go task in which tones were presented with equal probability. Half of the participants were asked to respond to the short sounds, the other half to long sounds. Primacy bias was initially abolished but returned dependent upon the go-stimulus that the participant was assigned. Results demonstrate a long-term impact of prior learning on deviance detection, and that even when prior importance/equivalence is learned, the bias ultimately returns. Results are discussed in terms of persistent go-stimulus specific changes in responsiveness to sound.

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