Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Irrelevant sound is detrimental to performance on serial order recall for both adults and children. Many current models of the effects of irrelevant sound on serial order recall propose that the irrelevant sound interferes with rehearsal in adults. However a direct test of rehearsal on the irrelevant sound effect (ISE) had not been examined prior to the present study. Furthermore, the cause of the ISE in children remains unclear as children are less proficient at rehearsal, yet typically show larger effects. We examined how certain factors hypothesized to relate to the size of the ISE correlate to performance in both adults and children in order to investigate the underlying mechanisms causing the effect in the two populations. Results indicated that in adults, while rehearsal does significantly predict the size of the ISE, the size of the relationship is weak. In children, the relationship between rehearsal and the size of the ISE appears stronger, however further analysis leads to the conclusion that attention capture may be playing a unique role in causing the ISE in children despite being shown not to play a role in adults. The present study demonstrates the need for further investigation not only into the cause of the ISE, but also into developmental differences in auditory distraction.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Elliott, Emily

Included in

Psychology Commons