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October 2021

Explaining the irrelevant-sound effect: Temporal distinctiveness or changing state?

Author(s): Mosdell, N., Jones, D. M.

Journal/Book: J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1999; 25: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 810-814.

Abstract: Task-irrelevant background sound disrupts serial recall. One account of this effect assumes that irrelevant events close to or during the presentation of a to-be-remembered list will interfere by disrupting temporal codes;. A second account predicts that disruption will be greatest when the burden on rehearsal is high, as order cues in the auditory sequence interfere with those in the memory set. The authors tested these predictions by restricting the sound to different phases of the serial recall task Sound presented just before the list and sound presented early in list presentation did not disrupt recall,but sound presented late in the list or after list presentation produced significant disruption. Sound presented after the list was more disruptive of recall for early list items than sound presented at the same time as those items. An account based on disruption of serial rehearsal, not the disruption of temporal codes, is supported.

Note: Article Macken WJ, Univ Wales, Sch Psychol, Cardiff CF1 3YG, S Glam, WALES

Keyword(s): SHORT-TERM-MEMORY; UNATTENDED SPEECH; WORKING MEMORY; SERIAL-RECALL; DISRUPTION


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