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Title [sv]
Vad är arbetsminneskapacitetens väsen? Mot ett svar på en grundläggande fråga inom kognitionsvetenskap
Title [en]
What is the nature of working memory capacity? Towards answering a fundamental question in cognitive science
Abstract [en]
In this research project we will explore the nature of individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC). We do this in two original ways. First, we will investigate the role of WMC in auditory distraction. Auditory distraction provides a unique opportunity to investigate the nature of WMC because WMC appears to be related to some - the deviation effect - but not all - the irrelevant sound effect -types of auditory distraction. Studying what WMC does not predict might be a fruitful way of framing the nature of WMC. We aim to explore whether WMC is related to the deviation effect but not to the irrelevant sound effect and in addition to find out whether perceptual-processing capacity is related to the irrelevant sound effect but not to the deviation effect. We also aim to probe whether high-WMC individuals habituate faster than low-WMC individuals to the deviation effect, while no habituation to the irrelevant sound effect occurs for either group. In the other parts of the research project we will experimentally investigate whether inhibition of irrelevant materials takes place in complex-span tasks (typically used to operationalize WMC). Some researchers argue that complex-span tasks measure the capacity to inhibit irrelevant materials in the task, but no one has ever shown this. We aim to provide evidence for this assumption by borrowing a negative priming technique. This line of research could support an inhibitory view over alternative accounts of the nature of WMC.
Publications (4 of 4) Show all publications
Marsh, J., Sörqvist, P., Hodgetts, H., Beaman, P. & Jones, D. (2015). Distraction control processes in free recall: benefits and costs to performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, 41(1), 118-133
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Distraction control processes in free recall: benefits and costs to performance
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, ISSN 0278-7393, E-ISSN 1939-1285, Vol. 41, no 1, p. 118-133Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

How is semantic memory influenced by individual differences under conditions of distraction? This question was addressed by observing how participants recalled visual target words—drawn from a single category—while ignoring spoken distractor words that were members of either the same or a different (single) category. Working memory capacity (WMC) was related to disruption only with synchronous, not asynchronous, presentation, and distraction was greater when the words were presented synchronously. Subsequent experiments found greater negative priming of distractors among individuals with higher WMC, but this may be dependent on targets and distractors being comparable category exemplars. With less dominant category members as distractors, target recall was impaired—relative to control—only among individuals with low WMC. The results highlight the role of cognitive control resources in target–distractor selection and the individual-specific cost implications of such cognitive control.

Keywords
auditory distraction; working memory capacity; free recall; negative priming; inhibition
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-16857 (URN)10.1037/a0037779 (DOI)000347707700007 ()25329080 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84925767968 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-02042
Available from: 2014-06-11 Created: 2014-06-11 Last updated: 2019-10-01Bibliographically approved
Marsh, J. E., Hughes, R. W., Sörqvist, P., Beaman, C. P. & Jones, D. M. (2015). Erroneous and Veridical Recall Are Not Two Sides of the Same Coin: Evidence From Semantic Distraction in Free Recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, 41(6), 1728-1740
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Erroneous and Veridical Recall Are Not Two Sides of the Same Coin: Evidence From Semantic Distraction in Free Recall
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, ISSN 0278-7393, E-ISSN 1939-1285, Vol. 41, no 6, p. 1728-1740Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two experiments examined the extent to which erroneous recall blocks veridical recall using, as a vehicle for study, the disruptive impact of distractors that are semantically similar to a list of words presented for free recall. Instructing participants to avoid erroneous recall of to-be-ignored spoken distractors attenuated their recall but this did not influence the disruptive effect of those distractors on veridical recall (Experiment 1). Using an externalized output-editing procedure-whereby participants recalled all items that came to mind and identified those that were erroneous-the usual between-sequences semantic similarity effect on erroneous and veridical recall was replicated but the relationship between the rate of erroneous and veridical recall was weak (Experiment 2). The results suggest that forgetting is not due to veridical recall being blocked by similar events.

Keywords
blocking, erroneous recall, externalized free recall, forewarning, veridical recall
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-18897 (URN)10.1037/xlm0000121 (DOI)000364163700010 ()25938326 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84928659600 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-02042
Note

Även finansierat av Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK, Projektnummer: RES-062-23-1752.

Available from: 2015-01-31 Created: 2015-01-31 Last updated: 2019-10-01Bibliographically approved
Nöstl, A., Marsh, J. & Sörqvist, P. (2014). What we expect is not always what we get: Evidence for both the direction-of-change and the specific-stimulus hypotheses of auditory attentional capture. PLoS ONE, 9(11), e111997
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What we expect is not always what we get: Evidence for both the direction-of-change and the specific-stimulus hypotheses of auditory attentional capture
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 11, p. e111997-Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Participants were requested to respond to a sequence of visual targets while listening to a well-known lullaby. One of the notes in the lullaby was occasionally exchanged with a pattern deviant. Experiment 1 found that deviants capture attention as a function of the pitch difference between the deviant and the replaced/expected tone. However, when the pitch difference between the expected tone and the deviant tone is held constant, a violation to the direction-of-pitch change across tones can also capture attention (Experiment 2). Moreover, in more complex auditory environments, wherein it is difficult to build a coherent neural model of the sound environment from which expectations are formed, deviations can capture attention but it appears to matter less whether this is a violation from a specific stimulus or a violation of the current direction-of-change (Experiment 3). The results support the expectation violation account of auditory distraction and suggest that there are at least two different expectations that can be violated: One appears to be bound to a specific stimulus and the other would seem to be bound to a more global cross-stimulus rule such as the direction-of-change based on a sequence of preceding sound events. Factors like base-rate probability of tones within the sound environment might become the driving mechanism of attentional capture - rather than violated expectations - in complex sound environments.

Keywords
specific-stimulus hypotheses, auditory attentional capture, pitch differences
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-17675 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0111997 (DOI)000347709300027 ()25393298 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84911861505 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-02042
Available from: 2014-10-12 Created: 2014-10-12 Last updated: 2019-10-01Bibliographically approved
Nöstl, A., Marsh, J. & Sörqvist, P. (2012). Expectations Modulate the Magnitude of Attentional Capture by Auditory Events. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e48569
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Expectations Modulate the Magnitude of Attentional Capture by Auditory Events
2012 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 7, no 11, p. e48569-Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What determines the magnitude of attentional capture by deviant sound events? We combined the cross-modal oddball distraction paradigm with sequence learning to address this question. Participants responded to visual targets, each preceded by tones that formed a repetitive cross-trial standard sequence. In Experiment 1, with the standard tone sequence …-660-440-660-880-… Hz, either the 440 Hz or the 880 Hz standard was occasionally replaced by one of two deviant tones (220 Hz and 1100 Hz), that either differed slightly (by 220 Hz) or markedly (by 660 Hz) from the replaced standard. In Experiment 2, with the standard tone sequence …-220-660-440-660-880-660-1100-… Hz, the 440 Hz and the 880 Hz standard was occasionally replaced by either a 220 Hz or a 1100 Hz pattern deviant. In both experiments, a high-pitch deviant was more captivating when it replaced a low-pitch standard, and a low-pitch deviant was more captivating when it replaced a high-pitch standard. These results indicate that the magnitude of attentional capture by deviant sound events depends on the discrepancy between the deviant event and the expected event, not on perceived local change.

Keywords
attentional capture, auditory distraction, expectancy violation, novelty, oddball paradigm
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-13116 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0048569 (DOI)000311935800076 ()PMC3492454 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84868712214 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-02042
Available from: 2012-09-28 Created: 2012-09-28 Last updated: 2019-10-01Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorHygge, Staffan
Coordinating organisation
University of Gävle
Funder
Period
2011-01-01 - 2013-12-31
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:299Project, id: 2010-02042_VR

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