Attention capture by own name decreases with speech compression

Simon Y. W. LI*, Alan L. F. LEE, Jenny W. S. CHIU, Robert G. LOEB, Penelope M. SANDERSON

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Auditory stimuli that are relevant to a listener have the potential to capture focal attention even when unattended, the listener’s own name being a particularly effective stimulus. We report two experiments to test the attention-capturing potential of the listener’s own name in normal speech and time-compressed speech. In Experiment 1, 39 participants were tested with a visual word categorization task with uncompressed spoken names as background auditory distractors. Participants’ word categorization performance was slower when hearing their own name rather than other names, and in a final test, they were faster at detecting their own name than other names. Experiment 2 used the same task paradigm, but the auditory distractors were time-compressed names. Three compression levels were tested with 25 participants in each condition. Participants’ word categorization performance was again slower when hearing their own name than when hearing other names; the slowing was strongest with slight compression and weakest with intense compression. Personally relevant time-compressed speech has the potential to capture attention, but the degree of capture depends on the level of compression. Attention capture by time-compressed speech has practical significance and provides partial evidence for the duplex-mechanism account of auditory distraction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Issue number1
Early online date12 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Simon Y. W. Li and Alan L. F. Lee: Joint first authors.

We would like to thank Noel Bautista for conducting the pilot study which guided the design of the current study.


Dive into the research topics of 'Attention capture by own name decreases with speech compression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this