Integration of three investigations of Novelty, Intensity, and Significance in dishabituation paradigms: A study of the phasic Orienting Reflex
Data from three published studies examining autonomic and ERP measures in variants of a dishabituation paradigm were re-analysed to clarify ambiguous novelty results. The three studies manipulated 1. Novelty, 2. Novelty and Intensity, and 3. Novelty and Significance, in auditory dishabituation paradigms at very long interstimulus intervals (ISIs). The question of whether any single ERP matches SCR as the benchmark for the phasic Orienting Reflex (OR) was also addressed. Finally, we aimed to align the re-analysed measures of this and the previous analyses with processes of Preliminary Process Theory (PPT). The SCR demonstrated decrement, recovery, and dishabituation. A summary temporal PCA extracted PN (Processing Negativity), P3a, P3b, Novelty P3, and classic SW for detailed analysis. P3b and SW showed decrement but no recovery at the change trial, while Respiratory pause (RP) and Novelty P3 demonstrated decrement and recovery, but no dishabituation. Post hoc exploration of observed power versus sample size for each of these findings confirmed their robustness. No decrement for PN was also confirmed. Five autonomic and ERP groupings emerged and aligned with modules of processing in PPT: ECR1 (cardiac deceleration), P1, N1-3, and PN - stimulus registration; RP and Novelty P3 - Novelty registration; Peripheral Vasoconstriction (PVC) and P3b - Intensity registration; and ECR2 (cardiac acceleration) and classic SW - Response system. The SCR was confirmed as the sole index of the phasic OR. The pattern of results for the Late Positive Complex (LPC) components (P3a, P3b, Novelty P3, and SW) suggests each is differentially sensitivity to selective determinants of the phasic OR, and consequently the summary LPC is presented as the most appropriate central index of the phasic OR.