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ERIC Number: EJ1007604
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 87
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Cognitive Control of Auditory Distraction: Impact of Task Difficulty, Foreknowledge, and Working Memory Capacity Supports Duplex-Mechanism Account
Hughes, Robert W.; Hurlstone, Mark J.; Marsh, John E.; Vachon, Francois; Jones, Dylan M.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v39 n2 p539-553 Apr 2013
The influence of top-down cognitive control on 2 putatively distinct forms of distraction was investigated. Attentional capture by a task-irrelevant auditory deviation (e.g., a female-spoken token following a sequence of male-spoken tokens)--as indexed by its disruption of a visually presented recall task--was abolished when focal-task engagement was promoted either by increasing the difficulty of encoding the visual to-be-remembered stimuli (by reducing their perceptual discriminability; Experiments 1 and 2) or by providing foreknowledge of an imminent deviation (Experiment 2). In contrast, distraction from continuously changing auditory stimuli ("changing-state effect") was not modulated by task-difficulty or foreknowledge (Experiment 3). We also confirmed that individual differences in working memory capacity--typically associated with maintaining task-engagement in the face of distraction--predict the magnitude of the deviation effect, but not the changing-state effect. This convergence of experimental and psychometric data strongly supports a duplex-mechanism account of auditory distraction: Auditory attentional capture (deviation effect) is open to top-down cognitive control, whereas auditory distraction caused by direct conflict between the sound and focal-task processing (changing-state effect) is relatively immune to such control. (Contains 5 figures and 4 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (Wales)