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Description: in your introductory or other psychology courses you’ve undoubtedly had some introduction to issues and concepts related to working memory and to the maintaining of attention (the opposite of course of which is distraction). So, think for a minute about how working memory and distractability might be related and then read the article linked below to see how your thoughts compared to those of the study authors.

Source: Visual Distractions May Hamper Working Memory, Rick Nauert, PsycCentral

Date: February 21, 2016

Image by Gary Cassel from Pixabay

Links: Article Link —

I am hoping you recall from one of the early psychology courses information you may have received about the nature of working memory and about the role of attention or more specifically focused attention in the processing of information. While we are all aware of the incremental effects of distractibility or distraction on tasks like driving or in any situation requiring the memorization of information or material we don’t often think specifically about how the management of attention might be related to basic information processing components such as working memory. The researchers from Simon Fraser University discussed in this article looked specifically at the relationship between working memory and distractibility or attention management have a look at the article to see what they found.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the relationship between attention management and distractibility?
  2. What role does attention management play in our general information processing capacities?
  3. What is the article suggest about their findings involving the relationship between attention management and working memory? Are the things that they found reflective of characterological or other individual difference variables or are there things that can be addressed through training and practice?

References (Read Further):

Gaspar, J. M., Christie, G. J., Prime, D. J., Jolicœur, P., & McDonald, J. J. (2016). Inability to suppress salient distractors predicts low visual working memory capacity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201523471.


Gaspar, J. M., & McDonald, J. J. (2014). Suppression of salient objects prevents distraction in visual search. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(16), 5658-5666.