Sequential processing in the classic oddball task: ERP components, probability, and behavior
This study compared the ERP components and behavior associated with the auditory equiprobable and classic oddball tasks, to relate the cognitive processing stages in those paradigms and continue the development of the sequential processing schema. Target and nontarget ERP data were acquired from 66 healthy young adults (Mage = 20.1, SD = 2.4 years, 14 male) who completed both equiprobable (target p = 0.5) and oddball tasks (target p = 0.3). Separate temporal PCAs were used to decompose the ERP data in each task and condition, and the similarity of the components identified in each condition was examined between tasks. Probability effects on component amplitudes and behavior were also analyzed to identify task differences in cognitive demands. A highly similar series of components was identified in each task, closely matching the schema: targets elicited N1‐3, N1‐1, PN, N2c, P3b, SW1, SW2; whereas nontargets elicited N1‐3, N1‐1, PN, N2b, P3a, SW1, SW2. N1‐1 and PN amplitudes increased as stimulus probability decreased, irrespective of the condition. N2b, P3b, SW1, and SW2 amplitudes also varied between tasks, illustrating task‐specific demands on those processing stages. These findings complemented the behavioral outcomes, which demonstrated greater accuracy and control in the classic oddball task. Overall, this study demonstrated comparable processing in the auditory equiprobable and classic oddball tasks, extending the generalizability of the schema and enabling further integration of the ERP theory associated with these tasks. This study also clarifies stimulus probability effects on the schema, providing important insight into the functionality of common ERP components.