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Psychophysiology. 2008 Jul;45(4):608-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2008.00660.x. Epub 2008 Mar 11.

Cognitive control after distraction: event-related brain potentials (ERPs) dissociate between different processes of attentional allocation.

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Department for Psychology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


Attentional reallocation after a distracting event is an important function of cognitive control. This process is tapped by the reorienting negativity (RON) event-related brain potential. It was argued that the RON reflects orientation of attention to relevant information in working memory. To test this hypothesis participants performed an auditory duration discrimination task. The stimuli were presented in a frequent standard or a rare deviant pitch with deviants resulting in behavioral distraction. Participants accomplished this task under two conditions: In the refocus condition participants were asked to respond to every stimulus; in the reorient condition participants were instructed to ignore deviant stimuli and omit a reaction. The results suggest that different functions of attentional allocation are reflected by two RON subcomponents: the fast orientation of the focus of attention in working memory and a subsequent poststimulus evaluation process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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