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Distraction control processes in free recall: benefits and costs to performance

Marsh, J. E., Sörqvist, P., Hodgetts, H. M., Beaman, C. P. ORCID: and Jones, D. M. (2014) Distraction control processes in free recall: benefits and costs to performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 41 (1). pp. 118-133. ISSN 0278-7393

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/a0037779


How is semantic memory influenced by individual differences under conditions of distraction? This question was addressed by observing how visual target words—drawn from a single category—were recalled whilst ignoring spoken distracter words that were either members of the same, or members of a different (single) category. Working memory capacity (WMC) was related to disruption only with synchronous, not asynchronous, presentation and distraction was greater when the words were presented synchronously. Subsequent experiments found greater negative priming of distracters amongst individuals with higher WMC but this may be dependent on targets and distracters being comparable category exemplars. With less dominant category members as distracters, target recall was impaired – relative to control – only amongst individuals with low WMC. The results highlight the role of cognitive control resources in target-distracter selection and the individual-specific cost implications of such cognitive control.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
ID Code:36903
Uncontrolled Keywords:Auditory Distraction; Working Memory Capacity; Source Monitoring; Free Recall, Negative Priming, Inhibition
Publisher:American Psychological Association.
Publisher Statement:This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record


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