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Examining the Role of Spatial Changes in Bimodal and Uni-Modal To-Be-Ignored Stimuli and How They Affect Short-Term Memory Processes
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2379-9201
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study examines the potential vulnerability of short-term memory processes to distraction by spatial changes within to-be-ignored bimodal, vibratory, and auditory stimuli. Participants were asked to recall sequences of serially presented dots or digits while being exposed to to-be-ignored stimuli. On unexpected occasions, the bimodal (Experiment 1), vibratory (Experiment 2), or auditory (Experiment 3) stimuli changed their spatial origin from one side of the body (e.g., ear and arm, arm only, ear only) to the other. It was expected that the bimodal stimuli would make the spatial change more salient compared to that of the uni-modal stimuli and that this, in turn, would yield an increase in distraction of serial short-term memory in both the verbal and spatial domains. Performance across three experiments support this assumption as a disruptive effect of the spatial deviant was only observed when presented within the bimodal to-be-ignored sequence (Experiment 1): Uni-modal to-be-ignored sequences, whether vibratory (Experiment 2) or auditory (Experiment 3), had no impact on either verbal or spatial short-term memory. Implications for models of attention capture, short-term memory, and the potential special role attention capturing role of bimodal stimuli is discussed.

Keyword [en]
bimodal, auditory, tactile, short-term memory, distraction, attention capture, deviant, spatial, verbal
National Category
Psychology Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141862OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-141862DiVA, id: diva2:1156770
Available from: 2017-11-14 Created: 2017-11-14 Last updated: 2018-06-09
In thesis
1. Attention capture by sudden and unexpected changes: a multisensory perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attention capture by sudden and unexpected changes: a multisensory perspective
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main focus for this thesis was cross-modal attention capture by sudden and unexpected sounds and vibrations, known as deviants, presented in a stream the same to-be-ignored stimulus. More specifically, the thesis takes a multisensory perspective and examines the possible similarities and differences in how deviant vibrations and sounds affect visual task performance (Study I), and whether the deviant and standard stimuli have to be presented within the same modality to capture attention away from visual tasks (Study II). Furthermore, by presenting spatial deviants (changing the source of the stimuli from one side of the body to the other) in audiotactile (bimodal), tactile, and auditory to-be-ignored, it explores whether bimodal stimuli are more salient compared to unimodal (Study III). In addition, Study III tested the claims that short-term memory is domain-specific.

In line with previous research, Study I found that both auditory and tactile deviants captured attention away from the visual task. However, the temporal dynamics between the two modalities seem to differ. That is, it seems like practice causes the effect of vibratory deviants to reduce, whereas this is not the case for auditory deviants. This suggests that there are central mechanisms (detection of the change) and sensory-specific mechanisms.

Study II found that the deviant and standard stimuli must be presented within the same modality. If attention capture by deviants is produced by a mismatch within a neural model predicting upcoming stimuli, the neural model is likely built on stimuli within each modality separately.

The results of Study III revealed that spatial and verbal short-term memory are negatively affected by a spatial change in to-be-ignored sequences, but only when the change is within a bimodal sequence. These results can be taken as evidence for a unitary account of short-term memory (verbal and spatial information stored in the same storage) and that bimodal stimuli may be integrated into a unitary percept that make any change in the stream more salient. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2017. p. 46
Keyword
Attention Capture, Tactile, Auditory, Visual, Crossmodal, Bimodal, Distraction, Short-term memory, Attention
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141852 (URN)978-91-7601-803-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-08, Hörsal B, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-17 Created: 2017-11-14 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Marsja, ErikHansson, PatrikNeely, Gregory

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