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Can ‘Hebb’ Be Distracted? Testing the Susceptibility of Sequence Learning to Auditory Distraction

Resource Type
  • Vachon, François (Université Laval)
  • Marois, Alexandre (Université Laval)
  • Lévesque-Dion, Michaël (Université Laval)
  • Legendre, Maxime (Université Laval)
  • Saint-Aubin, Jean (Université de Moncton)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes
Free Keywords
Hebb repetition effect; Sequence learning; Auditory distraction; Serial memory; Irrelevant Sound; Word learning
  • Abstract

    Sequence learning plays a key role in many daily activities such as language and skills acquisition. The present study sought to assess the nature of the Hebb repetition effect—the enhanced serial recall for a repeated sequence of items compared to random sequences—by examining the vulnerability of this classical sequence-learning phenomenon to auditory distraction. Sound can cause unwanted distraction by either interfering specifically with the processes involved in the focal task (interference-by-process), or by diverting attention away from a focal task (attentional capture). Participants were asked to perform visual serial recall, in which one to-be-remembered sequence was repeated every four trials, while ignoring irrelevant sound. Whereas both changing-state (Experiment 1) and deviant sounds (Experiment 2) disrupted recall performance compared to steady-state sounds, performance for the repeated sequence increased across repetitions at the same rate regardless of the sound condition. Such findings suggest that Hebbian sequence learning is impervious to environmental interference, which provides further evidence that the Hebb repetition effect is an analogue of word-form learning.

Update Metadata: 2018-01-10 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2018-01-10

Vachon, François; Marois, Alexandre; Lévesque-Dion, Michaël; Legendre, Maxime; Saint-Aubin, Jean (2018): Can ‘Hebb’ Be Distracted? Testing the Susceptibility of Sequence Learning to Auditory Distraction. Version: 2. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.