Distraction of mental arithmetic by background speech: Further evidence for the habitual-response priming view of auditory distraction
2016 (English)In: Experimental psychology (Göttingen), ISSN 1618-3169, E-ISSN 2190-5142, Vol. 63, no 3, 141-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
When solving mental arithmetic problems, one can easily be distracted by someone speaking in the background and this distraction is greater if the speech comprises numbers. We explored the basis of this disruption by asking participants to solve mental addition problems (e.g., "45 + 17 = ?") in three different conditions: background speech comprising numbers in ascending order (e.g., "61, 62, 63, 64, 65"), background speech comprising numbers in descending order (e.g., "65, 64, 63, 62, 61"), and quiet. Performance was best in quiet, worse in the descending numbers condition, and poorest in the ascending numbers condition. In view of these findings, we suggest that disruption arises as a by-product of preventing the primed, but inaccurate, candidate responses from assuming the control of action. Alternative explanations are also discussed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 63, no 3, 141-149 p.
Habitual responses, Irrelevant sound, Mental arithmetic, Priming
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20450DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000314ISI: 000380391400001PubMedID: 27404982ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84978790713OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20450DiVA: diva2:862389