Irrelevant sound effects amongst younger and older adults: objective findings and subjective insights
Beaman, C. P. (2005) Irrelevant sound effects amongst younger and older adults: objective findings and subjective insights. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 17 (2). pp. 241-265. ISSN 0954-1446
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09541440440000023
Two experiments examine the effects of extraneous speech and nonspeech noise on a visual short-term memory task administered to younger and older adults. Experiment 1 confirms an earlier report that playing task-irrelevant speech is no more distracting for older adults than for younger adults (Rouleau T Belleville, 1996), indicating that "irrelevant sound effects" in short-term memory operate in a different manner to recalling targets in the presence of competing speech (Tun, O'Kane, T Wingfield, 2002). Experiment 2 extends this result to nonspeech noise and demonstrates that the result cannot be ascribed to hearing difficulties amongst the older age group, although the data also show that older adults rated the noise as less annoying and uncomfortable than younger adults. Implications for theories of the irrelevant sound effect, and for cognitive ageing, are discussed.