Thinking about meaning: Level-of-processing modulates semantic auditory distraction

Marsh, John Everett orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9494-1287, Hanczakowski, Maciej, Beaman, C. Philip, Meng, Zhu and Jones, Dylan M. (2024) Thinking about meaning: Level-of-processing modulates semantic auditory distraction. Journal of Cognitive Psychology . ISSN 0010-0285

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An effect is reported of a level-of-processing manipulation on the between-sequence semantic similarity effect, the finding that the correct recall of visually-presented target items is disrupted more by the presence of to-be-ignored auditory items (distracters) drawn from the same as compared to a different semantic category. Participants engaged in either a vowel-counting task (shallow-processing) or a pleasantness-rating task (deep-processing) on lists during study. The between-sequence semantic similarity effect was observed in the deep-processing but not shallow-processing condition. Thinking about meaning therefore yielded susceptibility to disruption via the semantic properties of the irrelevant material. Intrusions of related distracters were found with both deep and shallow-processing, but shallow-processing resulted in more intrusions. We propose a two-process account of these findings wherein distracters have independent effects on response-generation and source-monitoring.

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