Using the Maintenance Rehearsal Paradigm to Explore the Attentional Boost Effect

Langham, Megan (2015). Using the Maintenance Rehearsal Paradigm to Explore the Attentional Boost Effect Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Langham, Megan
Thesis Title Using the Maintenance Rehearsal Paradigm to Explore the Attentional Boost Effect
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-05-21
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Kimberley McFarlane
Total pages 71
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Recent investigations into the allocation of attentional resources found evidence that engaging in a visual detection task (requiring an overt response to target identification) whilst simultaneously encoding a series of images into memory enhanced performance on subsequent recognition tasks. This memory enhancement was labelled the Attentional Boost Effect (ABE). These recently uncovered results provide contradictions to longstanding evidence that divided attention harms memory performance. The purpose of the current experiment was to look for this attentional boost effect when utilising a memory paradigm that uses a low level of learning (the Maintenance Rehearsal Paradigm). A visual detection task was incorporated alongside traditional methods (digit recall, word rehearsal and single item recognition) in the maintenance rehearsal paradigm. 62 participants were randomly assigned to participate in the attentional boost condition (who completed an additional visual detection task) or controls (who were instructed to ignore the coloured circles presented on screen). All participants had to encode a 5 digit number into memory whilst articulating a high or low frequency word presented onscreen before recalling the digits. It was hypothesized that under the dual task condition there will be a memory enhancement for words processed alongside a target. No evidence was found for the ABE. Results support traditional findings of the word frequency effects in the maintenance rehearsal paradigm, reflecting the low frequency word advantage. Potential explanations and implications are discussed.
Keyword Memory
Cognitive psychology
Visual detection

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Created: Thu, 21 May 2015, 15:50:33 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology