Scientific article
Open access

Early spatial attention deployment toward and away from aggressive voices

Published inSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 14, no. 1, p. 73-80
Publication date2019

Salient vocalizations, especially aggressive voices, are believed to attract attention due to an automatic threat detection system. However, studies assessing the temporal dynamics of auditory spatial attention to aggressive voices are missing. Using event-related potential markers of auditory spatial attention (N2ac and LPCpc), we show that attentional processing of threatening vocal signals is enhanced at two different stages of auditory processing. As early as 200 ms post-stimulus onset, attentional orienting/engagement is enhanced for threatening as compared to happy vocal signals. Subsequently, as early as 400 ms post-stimulus onset, the reorienting of auditory attention to the center of the screen (or disengagement from the target) is enhanced. This latter effect is consistent with the need to optimize perception by balancing the intake of stimulation from left and right auditory space. Our results extend the scope of theories from the visual to the auditory modality by showing that threatening stimuli also bias early spatial attention in the auditory modality. Attentional enhancement was only present in female and not in male participants.

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression/psychology
  • Attention/physiology
  • Auditory Perception/physiology
  • Evoked Potentials/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Space Perception/physiology
  • Voice
  • Young Adult
Citation (ISO format)
BURRA, Nicolas et al. Early spatial attention deployment toward and away from aggressive voices. In: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2019, vol. 14, n° 1, p. 73–80. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsy100
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1749-5016

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