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

Marsh, John E., Sörqvist, Patrik, Hodgetts, Helen M., Beaman, C. Philip and Jones, Dylan M. ORCID: 2015. Distraction control processes in free recall: Benefits and costs to performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 41 (1) , pp. 118-133. 10.1037/a0037779

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How is semantic memory influenced by individual differences under conditions of distraction? This question was addressed by observing how participants recalled visual target words—drawn from a single category—while ignoring spoken distractor words that were members of either the same or 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 distractors among individuals with higher WMC, but this may be dependent on targets and distractors being comparable category exemplars. With less dominant category members as distractors, target recall was impaired—relative to control—only among individuals with low WMC. The results highlight the role of cognitive control resources in target–distractor selection and the individual-specific cost implications of such cognitive control.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0278-7393
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of Acceptance: 11 June 2014
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 09:18

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