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Effect of pitch distinctions and lateral asymmetry in autonomic responding to shock-associated words in the non-attended channel of a dichotic listening task Wood, Barrie George

Abstract

Ninety college Ss were first classically "conditioned" to color names and subsequently transferred to a dichotic listening task requiring shadowing of a five-minute prose passage. Embedded in the non-attended channel were previously shock-associated color words. In one condition (same pitch) both the shadowed and non-attended material was read by the same speaker. In the second condition (different pitch) the shadowed and non-attended channels were read by different speakers. Within conditions right/left ear of presentation of shadowing was factorially arranged. The dependent measure was phasic skin resistance changes in the non-attended channel to previously shock-associated stimuli. Autonomic responding was not affected by pitch characteristics. Ear of presentation showed a strong effect; autonomic responding to non-attended stimuli was enhanced by left ear presentation. The interaction of pitch by ear of presentation was significant; a left ear advantage was favored in the same pitch condition. Shadowing efficiency was not impaired at the time of responding to non-attended material nor was shadowing performance altered by pitch distinctions or ear of presentation. The above findings are discussed in terms of the Deutsch and Deutsch and Treisman theories of selective attention.

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