Interference between maintenance and processing in working memory: The effect of item-distractor similarity in complex span

K Oberauer, SA Farrell, C Jarrold, KS Pasiecznik, M Greaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Four experiments examined the effect of phonological similarity between items and distractors on complex span performance. Item–distractor similarity benefited serial recall when distractors followed the items they were similar to, but not when distractors preceded the items they were similar to. These findings are predicted by C-SOB (contextual serial order in a box), a computational model of complex span. The model assumes that distractors are involuntarily encoded into memory, being associated to the preceding item's list position. Distractors interfere with items by superposition of distributed representations that are associated to the same position. Superposition distorts item memory; this distortion is less severe when the distractor is similar to the item. Further support for the assumption that distractors are encoded at the position of the preceding item comes from the finding that intrusions of distractors at recall tended to come from the position of the target item. In addition, intruding distractors tend to replace items to which they are similar, showing that lack of distinctiveness also contributes to interference.
Translated title of the contributionInterference between maintenance and processing in working memory: The effect of item-distractor similarity in complex span
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665 - 685
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume38
Issue number3
Early online date5 Dec 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Structured keywords

  • Memory

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Interference between maintenance and processing in working memory: The effect of item-distractor similarity in complex span'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this