Boundaries of Semantic Distraction: Dominance and Lexicality Act at Retrieval

Marsh, John Everett orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9494-1287, Perham, Nicholas R., Sorqvist, Patrik and Jones, Dylan M. (2014) Boundaries of Semantic Distraction: Dominance and Lexicality Act at Retrieval. Memory & Cognition, 42 (8). pp. 1285-1301. ISSN 0090-502X

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Three experiments investigated memory for semantic information with the goal of determining boundary conditions for the manifestation of semantic auditory distraction. Irrelevant speech disrupted the free recall of semantic category-exemplars to an equal degree regardless of whether the speech coincided with presentation or test phases of the task (Experiment 1) and occurred regardless of whether it comprised random words or coherent sentences (Experiment 2). The effects of background speech were greater when the irrelevant speech was semantically related to the to-be-remembered material, but only when the irrelevant words were high in output dominance (Experiment 3). The implications of these findings in relation to the processing of task material and the processing of background speech is discussed.

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