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Auditory distraction eliminates retrieval induced forgetting: implications for the processing of unattended sound

Marsh, J. E., Sorqvist, P., Beaman, P. and Jones, D. M. (2013) Auditory distraction eliminates retrieval induced forgetting: implications for the processing of unattended sound. Experimental Psychology, 60 (5). pp. 368-375. ISSN 2190-5142

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000210

Abstract/Summary

The Retrieval-Induced Forgetting (RIF) paradigm includes three phases: (a) study/encoding of category exemplars, (b) practicing retrieval of a sub-set of those category exemplars, and (c) recall of all exemplars. At the final recall phase, recall of items that belong to the same categories as those items that undergo retrieval-practice, but that do not undergo retrieval-practice, is impaired. The received view is that this is because retrieval of target category-exemplars (e.g., ‘Tiger’ in the category Four-legged animal) requires inhibition of non-target category-exemplars (e.g., ‘Dog’ and ‘Lion’) that compete for retrieval. Here, we used the RIF paradigm to investigate whether ignoring auditory items during the retrieval-practice phase modulates the inhibitory process. In two experiments, RIF was present when retrieval-practice was conducted in quiet and when conducted in the presence of spoken words that belonged to a category other than that of the items that were targets for retrieval-practice. In contrast, RIF was abolished when words that either were identical to the retrieval-practice words or were only semantically related to the retrieval-practice words were presented as background speech. The results suggest that the act of ignoring speech can reduce inhibition of the non-practiced category-exemplars, thereby eliminating RIF, but only when the spoken words are competitors for retrieval (i.e., belong to the same semantic category as the to-be-retrieved items).

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
ID Code:31209
Publisher:Hogrefe

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