Gary R. Heald

University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, United States

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Publications (6)5.42 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The ability to apportion cognitive resources to process multiple visual and auditory stimuli is essential for human communication in competing conditions. The purpose of the current research was to examine the effects of a cell phone conversation on a battery of cognitive tests, using both timing (RT) and accuracy (A') as dependent measures. A repeated measures ANOVA was conducted. Forty-two college-age (mean 22 yr) adult females with normal hearing and cognitive function participated in the study. In one condition (quiet), a standardized cognitive assessment battery was administered to participants in a quiet room. In the (cell phone) condition, subjects were formulating and responding to specific questions about their travel experiences during administration of the same cognitive assessment battery. The computer automatically records subject performance. Post-hoc pairwise comparisons were conducted using the Bonferroni approach. The alpha level was set at .05 for all data analysis. This method of analysis was repeated for each of the dependent measures, RT, and A'. The results revealed a consistent, significant effect on reaction time between the two conditions. The same analysis was also conducted to examine the effect of participation in a cell phone discussion on accuracy. As with RT, results revealed a consistent, significant affect on A' between the two conditions. Our study supports the notion that there are differential effects of auditory distracters across cognitive spheres. For simple automatic type visual cognitive tasks, the effect is minimal. However, as visual tasks increase in difficulty, the effect of the auditory distraction is magnified, particularly when the task requires extensive division of language resources.
    Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 10/2009; 20(9):582-8. · 1.63 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The effects of interference, competition, and distraction on cognitive processing are unclearly understood, particularly regarding type and intensity of auditory distraction across a variety of cognitive processing tasks. The purpose of this investigation was to report two experiments that sought to explore the effects of types of distraction (4-talker babble; word repetition; combined 4-talker babble with word repetition) when compared to a control condition of quiet on a range of computerized measures (simple reaction time; choice reaction time; serial pattern matching; lexical decision-making; visual selective attention; response reversal and rapid visual scanning; and form discrimination) in 40 young adults (Experiment 1). Few distraction effects were found on cognitive processing at the comfortable loudness level (40dB SL). In Experiment 2, statistically significant differences for choice reaction time and serial pattern matching (working memory) were found in both speed and accuracy when distractions were presented at perceived uncomfortable loudness levels (ULL) and compared with conditions of quiet and comfortable loudness level (40dB SL). Cognitive resource allocation models may be useful in interpreting the effects of auditory distraction on cognitive-linguistic processing, and this model may help to explain differential distraction effects in clinical populations with attention deficits.
    Journal of Attention Disorders 06/2007; 10(4):398-409. · 2.16 Impact Factor
  • Brain and Language - BRAIN LANG. 01/2006; 99(1):111-112.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A subset of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) endures degradation of cognitive function during disease progression. The purpose of this study was to compare visual cognitive reaction time performance during three conditions of auditory distraction (four-talker babble; word repetition; babble combined with word repetition) to a quiet, undistracted condition. Twenty-two patients with mild relapsing-remitting MS (Expanded Disability Status Scale mean of 3.0) and 17 age-matched and education-matched control subjects free of neurologic disease were tested on four cognitive visual processing subtests of simple reaction time, choice reaction time, and visual working memory for same and sequential digits concurrently during three conditions of auditory distraction. When reaction times for MS and control participants were pooled across all four cognitive tests, the scores of the MS patients in quiet (528 ms) were significantly slower than those of the control subjects (459 ms). The auditory distraction condition of word repetition combined with four-talker babble degraded cognitive performance more than most of the other distraction conditions in both groups. Even in mild MS, subtle visual cognitive processing deficits may be elicited by auditory distraction.
    Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology 07/2005; 25(2):92-4. · 1.63 Impact Factor
  • Brain and Language - BRAIN LANG. 01/2005; 95(1):20-21.
  • Brain and Language - BRAIN LANG. 01/2003; 87(1):42-43.

Publication Stats

4 Citations
5.42 Total Impact Points


  • 2009
    • University of Southern Mississippi
      • Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences
      Hattiesburg, MS, United States
  • 2005
    • Florida State University
      • School of Communication Science and Disorders
      Tallahassee, FL, United States