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Cognitive control of auditory distraction: Impact of task difficulty foreknowledge and working memory capacity supports duplex-mechanism account

Hughes, Robert Wyn, Hurlstone, Mark J., Marsh, John Everett, Vachon, Francois and Jones, Dylan Marc 2013. Cognitive control of auditory distraction: Impact of task difficulty foreknowledge and working memory capacity supports duplex-mechanism account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 39 (2) , pp. 539-553. 10.1037/a0029064

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Abstract

The influence of top-down cognitive control on 2 putatively distinct forms of distraction was investigated. Attentional capture by a task-irrelevant auditory deviation (e.g., a female-spoken token following a sequence of male-spoken tokens)—as indexed by its disruption of a visually presented recall task—was abolished when focal-task engagement was promoted either by increasing the difficulty of encoding the visual to-be-remembered stimuli (by reducing their perceptual discriminability; Experiments 1 and 2) or by providing foreknowledge of an imminent deviation (Experiment 2). In contrast, distraction from continuously changing auditory stimuli (“changing-state effect”) was not modulated by task-difficulty or foreknowledge (Experiment 3). We also confirmed that individual differences in working memory capacity—typically associated with maintaining task-engagement in the face of distraction—predict the magnitude of the deviation effect, but not the changing-state effect. This convergence of experimental and psychometric data strongly supports a duplex-mechanism account of auditory distraction: Auditory attentional capture (deviation effect) is open to top-down cognitive control, whereas auditory distraction caused by direct conflict between the sound and focal-task processing (changing-state effect) is relatively immune to such control.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive control; auditory distraction; attentional capture; interference-by-process; working memory capacity
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0096-1523
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2020 15:42
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/30728

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