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Interference by process, not content, determines semantic auditory distraction

Marsh, John Everett, Hughes, Robert Wyn and Jones, Dylan Marc 2009. Interference by process, not content, determines semantic auditory distraction. Cognition 110 (1) , pp. 23-38. 10.1016/j.cognition.2008.08.003

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Distraction by irrelevant background sound of visually-based cognitive tasks illustrates the vulnerability of attentional selectivity across modalities. Four experiments centred on auditory distraction during tests of memory for visually-presented semantic information. Meaningful irrelevant speech disrupted the free recall of semantic category-exemplars more than meaningless irrelevant sound (Experiment 1). This effect was exacerbated when the irrelevant speech was semantically related to the to-be-remembered material (Experiment 2). Importantly, however, these effects of meaningfulness and semantic relatedness were shown to arise only when instructions emphasized recall by category rather than by serial order (Experiments 3 and 4). The results favor a process-oriented, rather than a structural, approach to the breakdown of attentional selectivity and forgetting: performance is impaired by the similarity of process brought to bear on the relevant and irrelevant material, not the similarity in item content.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Auditory distraction; Semantic interference; Selective attention; Interference-by-process; Semantic-category clustering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0010-0277
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2020 15:23

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