Spatial Change In Multisensory Distractors Impact On Spatial and Verbal Short-Term Memory Performance

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Keyword: Social Sciences, Psychology, Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology), Samhällsvetenskap, Psykologi, Psykologi (exklusive tillämpad psykologi)
Publication year: 2016
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Unexpected changes (known as deviant sounds) in a repetitive stream ofstandardsounds are known to prolong responses in visual categorization tasks (Parmentier, 2014) and disrupt short-term memory (Hughes, Vachon, & Jones, 2005; 2007). While this deviation effect,has been studied extensively, unexpected changes in multisensory irrelevant stimuli have yet to be explored. A further issue is whether a spatial change in either tactile, auditory, or in both modalities simultaneously, affects verbal and spatial short-term memorysimilarly. We explored how spatial and verbal memory performance were affected by a spatial change unexpectedly presented in a multisensory stream consisting of task-irrelevant vibrations and sounds.The sounds were presented from headphones and the vibrations from coin-like vibrating motors strapped to the upper arms of the participants. In the majority of trials (approximately 80%) the multisensory stream was presented on one side of the body whereas on deviant trials the irrelevant stimuli changed to the other side of the body. Preliminarily results suggest that a spatial change in a multisensory stream of irrelevant stimuli affects short-term memory performance both the spatial and verbal domains similarly. We conclude by discussing the results in the framework of multisensory views of short-term memory and attention (e.g., Cowan's, 1988; 1995) and the predictive coding framework (e.g., Talsma, 2015)


Erik Marsja

Umeå universitet, Institutionen för psykologi
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John Everett Marsh

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Gregory Neely

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Patrik Hansson

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Jessica Körning-Ljungberg

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