NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ823122
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Interference by Process, Not Content, Determines Semantic Auditory Distraction
Marsh, John E.; Hughes, Robert W.; Jones, Dylan M.
Cognition, v110 n1 p23-38 Jan 2009
Distraction by irrelevant background sound of visually-based cognitive tasks illustrates the vulnerability of attentional selectivity across modalities. Four experiments centred on auditory distraction during tests of memory for visually-presented semantic information. Meaningful irrelevant speech disrupted the free recall of semantic category-exemplars more than meaningless irrelevant sound (Experiment 1). This effect was exacerbated when the irrelevant speech was semantically related to the to-be-remembered material (Experiment 2). Importantly, however, these effects of meaningfulness and semantic relatedness were shown to arise only when instructions emphasized recall by category rather than by serial order (Experiments 3 and 4). The results favor a process-oriented, rather than a structural, approach to the breakdown of attentional selectivity and forgetting: performance is impaired by the similarity of process brought to bear on the relevant and irrelevant material, not the similarity in item content. (Contains 4 tables.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A