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Post-Categorical Auditory Distraction in Serial Short-Term Memory: Insights from Increased Task-Load and Task-Type
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England. (Miljöpsykologi)
School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England.
School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England.
School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England.
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2018 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, ISSN 0278-7393, E-ISSN 1939-1285, Vol. 44, no 6, p. 882-897Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Task-irrelevant speech impairs short-term serial recall appreciably. On the interference-by-process account, the processing of physical (i.e., precategorical) changes in speech yields order cues that conflict with the serial-ordering process deployed to perform the serial recall task. In this view, the postcategorical properties (e.g., phonology, meaning) of speech play no role. The present study reassessed the implications of recent demonstrations of auditory postcategorical distraction in serial recall that have been taken as support for an alternative, attentional-diversion, account of the irrelevant speech effect. Focusing on the disruptive effect of emotionally valent compared with neutral words on serial recall, we show that the distracter-valence effect is eliminated under conditions—high task-encoding load—thought to shield against attentional diversion whereas the general effect of speech (neutral words compared with quiet) remains unaffected (Experiment 1). Furthermore, the distracter-valence effect generalizes to a task that does not require the processing of serial order—the missing-item task—whereas the effect of speech per se is attenuated in this task (Experiment 2). We conclude that postcategorical auditory distraction phenomena in serial short-term memory (STM) are incidental: they are observable in such a setting but, unlike the acoustically driven irrelevant speech effect, are not integral to it. As such, the findings support a duplex-mechanism account over a unitary view of auditory distraction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 44, no 6, p. 882-897
Keywords [en]
irrelevant speech, serial STM, serial recall, auditory distraction, emotional valence
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-24846DOI: 10.1037/xlm0000492ISI: 000433984000003PubMedID: 29389192Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85041192033OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-24846DiVA, id: diva2:1133608
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01116Available from: 2017-08-16 Created: 2017-08-16 Last updated: 2018-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Marsh, JohnVachon, François

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