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Distraction of mental arithmetic by background speech: Further evidence for the habitual-response priming view of auditory distraction

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posted on 08.04.2022, 15:25 by Nick PerhamNick Perham, John E. Marsh, Martin Clarkson, Rosie Lawrence, Patrik Sörqvist

 When solving mental arithmetic problems, one can easily be distracted by someone speaking in the background and this distraction is greater if the speech comprises numbers. We explored the basis of this disruption by asking participants to solve mental addition problems (e.g. “45 + 17 = ?”) in three different conditions: background speech comprising numbers in ascending order (e.g. “61, 62, 63, 64, 65”), background speech comprising numbers in descending order (e.g. “65, 64, 63, 62, 61”), and quiet. Performance was best in quiet, worse in the descending numbers condition, and poorest in the ascending numbers condition. In view of these findings, we suggest that disruption arises as a by-product of preventing the primed, but inaccurate, candidate responses from assuming the control of action. Alternative explanations are also discussed. 

History

Published in

Experimental Psychology

Publisher

Hogrefe

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Citation

Perham, N., Marsh, J.E., Clarkson, M., Lawrence, R. & Sörqvist, P. (2016) 'Distraction of mental arithmetic by background speech: Further evidence for the habitual-response priming view of auditory distraction', Experimental Psychology, 63 (3), pp. 141-149

Electronic ISSN

2190-5142

Cardiff Met Affiliation

Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Nick Perham

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Applied Psychology and Behaviour Change

Copyright Holder

© The Publisher

Language

en