Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



It is generally believed that there are two main mechanisms of auditory distraction: attention capture and interference-by-process. Attention capture is said to occur when sounds drag your attention away from what you are attempting to focus on and harm performance as a consequence. Interference-by-process, meanwhile, states that the processing of the sounds can conflict with the processing needed to complete the task of interest. Whether or not the two mechanisms can jointly lead to distraction is unclear at this time. The following dissertation examined the roles of both distraction mechanisms in a cross-modal variant of the Stroop task, in which one names the color of visual items (e.g. color squares) while ignoring auditory color words. I attempted to manipulate the two mechanisms of auditory distraction independently to determine whether 1) both can play a role in distraction simultaneously and 2) whether the mechanisms can be manipulated independently. Experiments 1 and 2 sought to examine the role of attention, while Experiment 3 examined interference-by-process. The results implied that attention, specifically attention capture, appears to have little or no role in the size of the cross-modal effect and that any attention involved is outside the realm of top-down control. Thus, as of this time, there is no clear evidence that both mechanisms of auditory distraction can jointly lead to detriments in performance; however, more work is needed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Elliott, Emily



Included in

Psychology Commons