Automatic and Controlled cognitive processing

Kevin Spencer kspencer at s.psych.uiuc.edu
Tue Dec 2 01:41:30 EST 1997

"Barry Manor, presumably" <b.manor at unsw.edu.au> writes:

>It seems that the orienting response, mismatch negativity and P300a,
>others, have all been linked with AUTOMATIC processing in the
>N200 and P300 ERP components have been associated with CONTROLLED
>Any comments on this?

The theoretical construct of automatic vs. controlled processing
doesn't map on to ERP components cleanly.  Naatanen touted the MMN
as an automatic response for a long time, but Woldorff et al. (1991?)
showed that the amplitude of the MMN could be affected by attention.
I have heard that Naatanen's lab has confirmed that empirical result.
I don't know what the latest in MMN theory is.

As for the P3a, in the early literature (Squires et al., 1975) it was
thought to be an automatic response to deviance, like the MMN later was.
Then came the idea that the P3a and the frontal part of the novelty P3
were the same component, so obviously P3a amplitude could be modulated
a great deal by attention.  I have read statements in papers from
Naatanen's lab that the P3a may be associated with switching attention
to the to-be-ignored deviant stimulus.  I don't know what the empirical
evidence for this was.

Kevin Spencer
Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory
Dept. of Psychology and Beckman Institute
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
kspencer at s.psych.uiuc.edu

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net