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When is forewarned forearmed?: Predicting auditory distraction in short-term memory
Deparment of Psychology, University of London, Egham, UK.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science. School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
2019 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, ISSN 0278-7393, E-ISSN 1939-1285Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

Two experiments critically examined a predictive-coding based account of the vulnerability of short-term memory to auditory distraction, particularly the disruptive effect of changing-state sound on verbal serial recall. Experiment 1 showed that providing participants with the opportunity to predict the contents of an imminent spoken distractor sentence via a forewarning reduced its particularly disruptive effect but only to the same level of disruption as that produced by ‘simpler’ changing-state sequences (a sequence of letter-names). Moreover, a post-categorically unpredictable changing-state sequence (e.g., “F, B, H, E …”) was no more disruptive than a post-categorically predictable sequence (“A, B, C, D …”). Experiment 2 showed that a sentence distractor was disruptive regardless of whether participants reported adopting a serial rehearsal strategy to perform the focal task (in this case, a missing-item task) whereas, critically, the disruptive effect of simpler changing-state sequences was only found in participants who reported using a serial rehearsal strategy. Moreover, when serial rehearsal was not used to perform the focal task, the disruptive effect of sentences was completely abolished by a forewarning. These results indicate that predictability plays no role in the classical changing-state irrelevant sound effect and that foreknowledge selectively attenuates a functionally distinct stimulus-specific attentional-diversion effect. As such, the results are at odds with a unitary, attentional, account of auditory distraction in short-term memory and instead strongly support a duplex-mechanism account.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Psychological Association (APA), 2019.
Keywords [en]
Auditory distraction, serial recall, predictive coding, short-term memory, interference-by-process, duplex-mechanism account
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29722DOI: 10.1037/xlm0000736OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-29722DiVA, id: diva2:1321585
Part of project
A new perspective on working memory and its relation to attention and learning, Swedish Research Council
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2019-06-09 Created: 2019-06-09 Last updated: 2019-08-12Bibliographically approved

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