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Journal Article

Single, but not dual, attention facilitates statistical learning of two concurrent auditory sequences


Daikoku,  Tatsuya
Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan;
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Daikoku, T., & Yumoto, M. (2017). Single, but not dual, attention facilitates statistical learning of two concurrent auditory sequences. Scientific Reports, 7: 10108. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10476-x.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-DC59-4
When we are exposed to a novel stimulus sequence, we can learn the sequence by extracting a statistical structure that is potentially embedded in the sequence. This mechanism is called statistical learning, and is considered a fundamental and domain-general process that is innate in humans. In the real-world environment, humans are inevitably exposed to auditory sequences that often overlap with one another, such as speech sound streams from multiple speakers or entangled melody lines generated by multiple instruments. The present study investigated how single and dual attention modulates brain activity, reflecting statistical learning when two auditory sequences were presented simultaneously. The results demonstrated that the effect of statistical learning had more pronounced neural activity when listeners paid attention to only one sequence and ignored the other, rather than paying attention to both sequences. Biased attention may thus be an essential strategy when learners are exposed to multiple information streams.