Working memory capacity as a determinant of proactive interference and auditory distraction

Tehan, Gerald and Arber, Madeleine M. and Tolan, G. Anne (2018) Working memory capacity as a determinant of proactive interference and auditory distraction. Journal of Cognition, 1 (1). pp. 1-10.

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Individual differences in working memory capacity are related to performance on a range of elemental and higher order cognitive tasks. The current experiment tests the assumptions of two theoretical approaches to working memory capacity: working memory as executive attention and working memory as temporary binding. These approaches are examined using a short-term updating task where proactive interference is manipulated, such that old responses have to be suppressed in favour of new responses. A second source of distraction is introduced by way of irrelevant, to-be-ignored background speech that accompanies presentation of the list items. This speech reinforces either the to-be-remembered item on the current list, or the to-be-suppressed item. Working memory capacity was significantly related to overall level of correct performance on the short-term task, and to the degree of proactive interference experienced. However, there was no evidence for individual differences in the ability to suppress the interfering foil, nor in priming effects associated with the irrelevant speech. The results provided little support for the working memory capacity as executive attention perspective, some evidence for the binding perspective, but also evidence supporting the fact that some effects of distraction are not under voluntary control.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See licenses/by/4.0/.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2018 00:38
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 03:56
Uncontrolled Keywords: working memory capacity, individual differences, auditory distraction, immediate serial recall
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170201 Computer Perception, Memory and Attention
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
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