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08-04-2017 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2018 Open Access

Psychological Research 4/2018

Effects of auditory distraction on voluntary movements: exploring the underlying mechanisms associated with parallel processing

Psychological Research > Uitgave 4/2018
Marcelo Bigliassi, Costas I. Karageorghis, Alexander V. Nowicky, Michael J. Wright, Guido Orgs


Highly demanding cognitive-motor tasks can be negatively influenced by the presence of auditory stimuli. The human brain attempts to partially suppress the processing of potential distractors in order that motor tasks can be completed successfully. The present study sought to further understand the attentional neural systems that activate in response to potential distractors during the execution of movements. Nineteen participants (9 women and 10 men) were administered isometric ankle-dorsiflexion tasks for 10 s at a light intensity. Electroencephalography was used to assess the electrical activity in the brain, and a music excerpt was used to distract participants. Three conditions were administered: auditory distraction during the execution of movement (auditory distraction; AD), movement execution in the absence of auditory distraction (control; CO), and auditory distraction in the absence of movement (stimulus-only; SO). AD was compared with SO to identify the mechanisms underlying the attentional processing associated with attentional shifts from internal association (task-related) to external (task-unrelated) sensory cues. The results of the present study indicated that the EMG amplitude was not compromised when the auditory stimulus was administered. Accordingly, EEG activity was upregulated at 0.368 s in AD when compared to SO. Source reconstruction analysis indicated that right and central parietal regions of the cortex activated at 0.368 s in order to reduce the processing of task-irrelevant stimuli during the execution of movements. The brain mechanisms that underlie the control of potential distractors during exercise were possibly associated with the activity of the frontoparietal network.

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