ERIC Number: EJ1056046
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
The Process of Auditory Distraction: Disrupted Attention and Impaired Recall in a Simulated Lecture Environment
Zeamer, Charlotte; Fox Tree, Jean E.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n5 p1463-1472 Sep 2013
Literature on auditory distraction has generally focused on the effects of particular kinds of sounds on attention to target stimuli. In support of extensive previous findings that have demonstrated the special role of language as an auditory distractor, we found that a concurrent speech stream impaired recall of a short lecture, especially for verbatim language. But impaired recall effects were also found with a variety of nonlinguistic noises, suggesting that neither type of noise nor amplitude and duration of noise are adequate predictors of distraction. Rather, distraction occurred when it was difficult for a listener to process sounds and assemble coherent, differentiable streams of input, one task-salient and attended and the other task-irrelevant and inhibited. In 3 experiments, the effects of auditory distractors during a short spoken lecture were tested. Participants recalled details of the lecture and also reported their opinions of the sound quality. Our findings suggest that distractors that are difficult to designate as either task related or environment related (and therefore irrelevant) draw cognitive processing resources away from a target speech stream during a listening task, impairing recall.
Descriptors: Interference (Learning), Auditory Stimuli, Acoustics, Recall (Psychology), Verbal Communication, Experimental Psychology, Cognitive Processes, Hypothesis Testing, College Students, Lecture Method, Multiple Choice Tests, Qualitative Research, Memory
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California