Neural substrates of attentive listening assessed with a novel auditory Stroop task

Thomas A. Christensen, Julie L. Lockwood, Kyle R. Almryde, Elena M Plante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A common explanation for the interference effect in the classic visual Stroop test is that reading a word (the more automatic semantic response) must be suppressed in favor of naming the text color (the slower sensory response). Neuroimaging studies also consistently report anterior cingulate/medial frontal, lateral prefrontal, and anterior insular structures as key components of a network for Stroop-conflict processing. It remains unclear, however, whether automatic processing of semantic information can explain the interference effect in other variants of the Stroop test. It also is not known if these frontal regions serve a specific role in visual Stroop conflict, or instead play a more universal role as components of a more generalized, supramodal executive-control network for conflict processing. To address these questions, we developed a novel auditory Stroop test in which the relative dominance of semantic and sensory feature processing is reversed. Listeners were asked to focus either on voice gender (a more automatic sensory discrimination task) or on the gender meaning of the word (a less automatic semantic task) while ignoring the conflicting stimulus feature. An auditory Stroop effect was observed when voice features replaced semantic content as the "to-be-ignored" component of the incongruent stimulus. Also, in sharp contrast to previous Stroop studies, neural responses to incongruent stimuli studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed greater recruitment of conflict loci when selective attention was focused on gender meaning (semantic task) over voice gender (sensory task). Furthermore, in contrast to earlier Stroop studies that implicated dorsomedial cortex in visual conflict processing, interference-related activation in both of our auditory tasks was localized ventrally in medial frontal areas, suggesting a dorsal-to-ventral separation of function in medial frontal cortex that is sensitive to stimulus context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Semantics
Stroop Test
Gyrus Cinguli
Executive Function
Frontal Lobe
Visual Cortex
Automatic Data Processing
Neuroimaging
Reading
Color
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Conflict (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Anterior cingulate
  • Anterior insula
  • Attention
  • Auditory stroop
  • Conflict processing
  • fMRI
  • Medial frontal gyrus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Neural substrates of attentive listening assessed with a novel auditory Stroop task. / Christensen, Thomas A.; Lockwood, Julie L.; Almryde, Kyle R.; Plante, Elena M.

In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol. 4, 2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Christensen, Thomas A. ; Lockwood, Julie L. ; Almryde, Kyle R. ; Plante, Elena M. / Neural substrates of attentive listening assessed with a novel auditory Stroop task. In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2010 ; Vol. 4.
@article{6bc4430623bb423e9a07b879663e7a02,
title = "Neural substrates of attentive listening assessed with a novel auditory Stroop task",
abstract = "A common explanation for the interference effect in the classic visual Stroop test is that reading a word (the more automatic semantic response) must be suppressed in favor of naming the text color (the slower sensory response). Neuroimaging studies also consistently report anterior cingulate/medial frontal, lateral prefrontal, and anterior insular structures as key components of a network for Stroop-conflict processing. It remains unclear, however, whether automatic processing of semantic information can explain the interference effect in other variants of the Stroop test. It also is not known if these frontal regions serve a specific role in visual Stroop conflict, or instead play a more universal role as components of a more generalized, supramodal executive-control network for conflict processing. To address these questions, we developed a novel auditory Stroop test in which the relative dominance of semantic and sensory feature processing is reversed. Listeners were asked to focus either on voice gender (a more automatic sensory discrimination task) or on the gender meaning of the word (a less automatic semantic task) while ignoring the conflicting stimulus feature. An auditory Stroop effect was observed when voice features replaced semantic content as the {"}to-be-ignored{"} component of the incongruent stimulus. Also, in sharp contrast to previous Stroop studies, neural responses to incongruent stimuli studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed greater recruitment of conflict loci when selective attention was focused on gender meaning (semantic task) over voice gender (sensory task). Furthermore, in contrast to earlier Stroop studies that implicated dorsomedial cortex in visual conflict processing, interference-related activation in both of our auditory tasks was localized ventrally in medial frontal areas, suggesting a dorsal-to-ventral separation of function in medial frontal cortex that is sensitive to stimulus context.",
keywords = "Anterior cingulate, Anterior insula, Attention, Auditory stroop, Conflict processing, fMRI, Medial frontal gyrus",
author = "Christensen, {Thomas A.} and Lockwood, {Julie L.} and Almryde, {Kyle R.} and Plante, {Elena M}",
year = "2010",
doi = "10.3389/fnhum.2010.00236",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "4",
journal = "Frontiers in Human Neuroscience",
issn = "1662-5161",
publisher = "Frontiers Research Foundation",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Neural substrates of attentive listening assessed with a novel auditory Stroop task

AU - Christensen, Thomas A.

AU - Lockwood, Julie L.

AU - Almryde, Kyle R.

AU - Plante, Elena M

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - A common explanation for the interference effect in the classic visual Stroop test is that reading a word (the more automatic semantic response) must be suppressed in favor of naming the text color (the slower sensory response). Neuroimaging studies also consistently report anterior cingulate/medial frontal, lateral prefrontal, and anterior insular structures as key components of a network for Stroop-conflict processing. It remains unclear, however, whether automatic processing of semantic information can explain the interference effect in other variants of the Stroop test. It also is not known if these frontal regions serve a specific role in visual Stroop conflict, or instead play a more universal role as components of a more generalized, supramodal executive-control network for conflict processing. To address these questions, we developed a novel auditory Stroop test in which the relative dominance of semantic and sensory feature processing is reversed. Listeners were asked to focus either on voice gender (a more automatic sensory discrimination task) or on the gender meaning of the word (a less automatic semantic task) while ignoring the conflicting stimulus feature. An auditory Stroop effect was observed when voice features replaced semantic content as the "to-be-ignored" component of the incongruent stimulus. Also, in sharp contrast to previous Stroop studies, neural responses to incongruent stimuli studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed greater recruitment of conflict loci when selective attention was focused on gender meaning (semantic task) over voice gender (sensory task). Furthermore, in contrast to earlier Stroop studies that implicated dorsomedial cortex in visual conflict processing, interference-related activation in both of our auditory tasks was localized ventrally in medial frontal areas, suggesting a dorsal-to-ventral separation of function in medial frontal cortex that is sensitive to stimulus context.

AB - A common explanation for the interference effect in the classic visual Stroop test is that reading a word (the more automatic semantic response) must be suppressed in favor of naming the text color (the slower sensory response). Neuroimaging studies also consistently report anterior cingulate/medial frontal, lateral prefrontal, and anterior insular structures as key components of a network for Stroop-conflict processing. It remains unclear, however, whether automatic processing of semantic information can explain the interference effect in other variants of the Stroop test. It also is not known if these frontal regions serve a specific role in visual Stroop conflict, or instead play a more universal role as components of a more generalized, supramodal executive-control network for conflict processing. To address these questions, we developed a novel auditory Stroop test in which the relative dominance of semantic and sensory feature processing is reversed. Listeners were asked to focus either on voice gender (a more automatic sensory discrimination task) or on the gender meaning of the word (a less automatic semantic task) while ignoring the conflicting stimulus feature. An auditory Stroop effect was observed when voice features replaced semantic content as the "to-be-ignored" component of the incongruent stimulus. Also, in sharp contrast to previous Stroop studies, neural responses to incongruent stimuli studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed greater recruitment of conflict loci when selective attention was focused on gender meaning (semantic task) over voice gender (sensory task). Furthermore, in contrast to earlier Stroop studies that implicated dorsomedial cortex in visual conflict processing, interference-related activation in both of our auditory tasks was localized ventrally in medial frontal areas, suggesting a dorsal-to-ventral separation of function in medial frontal cortex that is sensitive to stimulus context.

KW - Anterior cingulate

KW - Anterior insula

KW - Attention

KW - Auditory stroop

KW - Conflict processing

KW - fMRI

KW - Medial frontal gyrus

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79953011314&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=79953011314&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00236

DO - 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00236

M3 - Article

C2 - 21258643

AN - SCOPUS:79953011314

VL - 4

JO - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

JF - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

SN - 1662-5161

ER -