John E Marsh

John E Marsh
University of Central Lancashire | UCLAN · School of Psychology

BSc (hons) Psychology with Biology; PhD Psychology

About

117
Publications
32,407
Reads
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1,887
Citations
Citations since 2016
71 Research Items
1484 Citations
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Introduction
My research concerns the cognitive psychology of auditory distraction and in particular the development of an account of semantic auditory distraction. Other strands of research include: evaluation of the perceptual-gestural account of short-term memory; the genesis of false memory; person recognition (particularly in relation to face construction), and the effects of eco-labeling.
Additional affiliations
June 2020 - present
Luleå University of Technology
Position
  • Researcher
January 2017 - May 2020
University of Gävle
Position
  • Senior Researcher
January 2013 - present
University of Central Lancashire
Position
  • Guild Research Fellow
Education
October 2002 - April 2006
Cardiff University
Field of study
  • Cognitive Psychology
October 1998 - June 2002
University of Abertay, Dundee
Field of study
  • Psychology with Biology

Publications

Publications (117)
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments investigated reactive top-down cognitive control of the detrimental influence of spoken distractors semantically related to words presented visually for free recall. Experiment 1 demonstrated that an increase in focal-task engagement-promoted experimentally by reducing the perceptual discriminability of the visual target words-elimi...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we outline our view of how concentration shields against distraction. We argue that higher levels of concentration make people less susceptible to distraction for two reasons. One reason is that the undesired processing of the background environment is reduced. For example, when people play a difficult video game, as opposed to an ea...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments examined the extent to which erroneous recall blocks veridical recall using, as a vehicle for study, the disruptive impact of distractors that are semantically similar to a list of words presented for free recall. Instructing participants to avoid erroneous recall of to-be-ignored spoken distractors attenuated their recall but this...
Article
Full-text available
Consumers believe that “eco-labeled” products taste better, which, at least in part, may be an effect of the label. The purpose of the current series of experiments was to examine some mechanisms and limits of this eco-label effect. In Experiment 1, an eco-label effect of similar magnitude was found for taste ratings of both conventional and organi...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Whether the post-categorical, semantic properties of task-irrelevant speech are processed has been a source of debate between two central accounts. The first, a structural account, proposes that the semantic content of irrelevant speech is filtered out early on, and thus remains unprocessed. The second account proposes that the semant...
Chapter
Full-text available
Meta-reasoning refers to the metacognitive processes that monitor and control ongoing thinking, reasoning and problem-solving. These monitoring processes are usually experienced as feelings of “certainty” or “uncertainty” regarding how well a process is unfolding. The “meta-reasoning framework” advanced by Ackerman and Thompson (2017) captures many...
Article
Full-text available
The presence of a weapon in the perpetration of a crime can impede an observer’s ability to describe and/or recognise the person responsible. In the current experiment, we explore whether weapons when present at encoding of a target identity interfere with the construction of a facial composite. Participants encoded an unfamiliar target face seen e...
Article
Received 17 December 2021 Accepted 09 June 2022 KEYWORDS Foreknowledge; speech intelligibility; irrelevant speech; auditory distraction ABSTRACT Providing participants with an opportunity to listen to a forthcoming distracter sentence has been shown to attenuate its disruptive effect on short-term memory. On the stimulus-specific attentional diver...
Article
Full-text available
The construct of psychological distance has gained traction as an explanation of why climate change is difficult to act on; it often feels far removed, with impacts arising in remote locations to other people or in an uncertain future. However, recent studies and narrative reviews have pointed out inconsistencies in the conceptualisation, operation...
Article
Full-text available
As a climate change mitigation strategy, environmentally certified ‘green’ buildings with low carbon footprints are becoming more prevalent in the world. An interesting psychological question is how people perceive the carbon footprint of these buildings given their spatial distributions in a given community. Here we examine whether regular distrib...
Article
Full-text available
Sounds that deviate, acoustically or semantically, from prevailing auditory backgrounds disrupt ongoing mental activity. An acoustic deviant is held to capture attention, but doubt has been cast on the attentional nature of the semantic, categorical deviation effect. Unlike the acoustical deviation effect, which is typically amenable to top-down co...
Article
Full-text available
Referring to the well-replicated finding that the presence of to-be-ignored sound disrupts short-term memory for serially-presented visual items, the irrelevant sound effect (ISE) is an important benchmark finding within cognitive psychology. The ISE has proven useful in evaluating the structure, function and development of short-term memory. This...
Article
A rare and unexpected change (or deviation) in the properties of an irrelevant auditory background can disrupt performance of a visual focal task via attentional capture. Although this effect is typically caused by a change in the acoustic properties of the sound, recent evidence has shown that a change in (semantic) category within a sound stream...
Article
Full-text available
People consistently act in ways that harm the environment, even when believing their actions are environmentally friendly. A case in point is a biased judgment termed the negative footprint illusion , which arises when people believe that the addition of “eco-friendly” items (e.g., environmentally certified houses) to conventional items (e.g., stan...
Article
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One of the today’s greatest challenges is to adjust our behavior so that we can avoid a major climate disaster. To do so, we must make sacrifices for the sake of the environment. The study reported here investigates how anchors (extrinsic motivational-free information) and normative messages (extrinsic motivational information) influence people’s t...
Article
Visual-verbal serial recall is disrupted when task-irrelevant background speech has to be ignored. Contrary to previous suggestion, it has recently been shown that the magnitude of disruption may be accentuated by the semantic properties of the irrelevant speech. Sentences ending with unexpected words that did not match the preceding semantic conte...
Preprint
Full-text available
The construct of psychological distance has gained traction as an explanation of why climate change is difficult to act on; it often feels far removed, with impacts arising in remote locations to other people or in an uncertain future. However, recent studies and narrative reviews have pointed out inconsistencies in the conceptualisation, operation...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Corresponding to the topics of Team 4 of the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise (ICBEN), a literature review is presented covering the years 2017 to 2021 with a focus on the effects of noise on cognitive performance and the methods used to study these effects. We used sound or noise and cognitive performance as well as several...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Acoustical environments affect cognitive work. Disruption of serial recall performance by background speech depends upon the content of the to-be-ignored sequence of sound beyond the fact of change. Increments in token set size, the number of different types of sound in such sequences, can increase the extent of disruption: Increments in set size f...
Article
Full-text available
People’s belief that one or more environmentally friendly items that are added to a set of conventional items can reduce the total environmental impact of these items (the negative footprint illusion) could lead to unwanted environmental consequences. An averaging bias seems to underpin this illusion: people make their estimates based on the averag...
Article
Full-text available
Memory is facilitated by reflecting upon, or revisiting, the environment in which information was encoded. We investigated these “context reinstatement” (CR) techniques to improve the effectiveness of facial composites – visual likenesses of a perpetrator’s face constructed by eyewitnesses. Participant-constructors viewed a face and, after a one-da...
Article
Full-text available
Controversy exists regarding the processes involved in creative thinking with the Remote Associates Test (RAT) and the Compound Remote Associates Test (CRAT). We report three experiments that aimed to shed light on the component processes underpinning CRAT performance by using the mere presence of task-irrelevant sound as a key theoretical tool. Ex...
Article
Data on orienting and habituation to irrelevant sound can distinguish between task-specific and general accounts of auditory distraction: Distractors either disrupt specific cognitive processes (e.g., Jones, 1993; Salamé & Baddeley, 1982), or remove more general-purpose attentional resources from any attention-demanding task (e.g., Cowan, 1995). Te...
Article
Automatic information processing has been and still is a debated topic. Traditionally, automatic processes are deemed to take place autonomously and independently of top-down cognitive control. For decades, the literature on reading has brought to the fore empirical phenomena such as Stroop and semantic priming effects that provide support for the...
Article
Recognition following long delays is superior for highly attractive and highly unattractive faces (cf. medium-attractive faces). In the current work, we investigated participants’ ability to recreate from memory faces of low-, medium- and high physical attractiveness. In Experiment 1, participants constructed composites of familiar (celebrity) face...
Article
Recognition following long delays is superior for highly attractive and highly unattractive faces (cf. medium-attractive faces). In the current work, we investigated participants’ ability to recreate from memory faces of low, medium, and high physical attractiveness. In Experiment 1, participants constructed composites of familiar (celebrity) faces...
Article
Task-irrelevant background sound can disrupt performance of visually based cognitive tasks. The cross-modal breakdown of attentional selectivity in the context of reading was addressed using analyses of eye movements. Moreover, the study addressed whether task-sensitivity to distraction via background speech on reading was modulated by the cognitiv...
Article
Full-text available
Classically, attentional selectivity has been conceptualized as a passive by-product of capacity-limits on stimulus-processing. Here, we examine the role of more active cognitive control processes in attentional selectivity, focusing on how distraction from task-irrelevant sound is modulated by levels of task-engagement in a visually-presented shor...
Article
Full-text available
We report a dissociation of two forms of auditory distraction within a single repeated-measures experiment using a novel Stroop serial recall task in which participants were oriented either to serially recall six color-words (low task-load condition) or the incongruent colors in which those words were presented (high task-load condition). The disru...
Article
Full-text available
Irrelevant sounds can be very distracting, especially when trying to recall information according to its serial order. The irrelevant sound effect (ISE) has been studied in the literature for more than 40 years, yet many questions remain. One goal that has received little attention involves the discernment of a predictive factor, or individual diff...
Article
Full-text available
Bilinguals often show a disadvantage in lexical access on verbal fluency tasks wherein the criteria require the production of words from semantic categories. However, the pattern is more heterogeneous for letter (phonemic) fluency wherein the task is to produce words beginning with a given letter. Here, bilinguals often outperform monolinguals. One...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments critically examined a predictive-coding based account of the vulnerability of short-term memory to auditory distraction, particularly the disruptive effect of changing-state sound on verbal serial recall. Experiment 1 showed that providing participants with the opportunity to predict the contents of an imminent spoken distractor sen...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the potential vulnerability of short-term memory processes to distraction by spatial changes within to-be-ignored bimodal, vibratory, and auditory stimuli. Participants were asked to recall sequences of serially presented digits or locations of dots while being exposed to to-be-ignored stimuli. On unexpected occasions, the bimod...
Article
Full-text available
Background music has been claimed to enhance people’s creativity (Ritter & Ferguson, 2017). In three experiments we investigated the impact of background music on performance of Compound Remote Associate Tasks (CRATs), which are widely thought to tap creativity. Background music with foreign (unfamiliar) lyrics (Experiment 1), instrumental music wi...
Article
Full-text available
The mere presence of task-irrelevant auditory stimuli is known to interfere with cognitive functioning. Disruption can be caused by changing auditory distractors (the changing-state effect) or by a sound that deviates from the auditory background (the deviation effect). The unitary account of auditory distraction explains both phenomena in terms of...
Article
Full-text available
Recent investigations have established the value of using rebus puzzles in studying the insight and analytic processes that underpin problem solving. The current study sought to validate a pool of 84 rebus puzzles in terms of their solution rates, solution times, error rates, solution confidence, self-reported solution strategies, and solution phra...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: To extend our knowledge of the functional linkages between visual fatigue and regional cerebral prefrontal cortex (PFC) oxygenation, we measured time related hemodynamic changes over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) during convergence load under conflicting stimulus-to-accommodation and stimulus-to-vergence eye movements wi...
Article
Full-text available
Task-irrelevant speech impairs short-term serial recall appreciably. On the interference-by-process account, the processing of physical (i.e., pre-categorical) changes in speech yields order cues that conflict with the serial-ordering process deployed to perform the serial recall task. In this view, the post-categorical properties (e.g., phonology,...
Article
Full-text available
Telephone conversation is ubiquitous within the office setting. Overhearing a telephone conversation—whereby only one of the two speakers is heard—is subjectively more annoying and objectively more distracting than overhearing a full conversation. The present study sought to determine whether this "halfalogue" effect is attributable to unexpected o...
Poster
Full-text available
This study investigated the role of the acoustic distinctiveness of spoken distracters in semantic auditory distraction. Experiment 1 showed that when sequences of auditory distracter words were semantically related to words presented visually for free recall, presenting them in seven vs. one voice increased the erroneous recall of those distracter...
Article
Full-text available
When 'environmentally friendly' items are added to a set of conventional items, people report that the total set will have a lower environmental impact even though the actual impact increases. One hypothesis is that this "negative footprint illusion" arises because people, who are susceptible to the illusion, lack necessary knowledge of the item's...
Article
Full-text available
We report an experiment investigating how stimulus complexity and conceptual fluency (i.e., the ease of deriving meaning) influence aesthetic liking judgments for abstract artworks. We presented participants with paintings at two levels of complexity (high vs. low) and five levels of conceptual fluency (determined from a prior norming study) and re...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the capacity for two different forms of metacognitive cue to shield against auditory distraction in problem solving with Compound Remote Associates Tasks (CRATs). Experiment 1 demonstrated that an intrinsic metacognitive cue in the form of processing disfluency (manipulated using an easy-to-read vs. difficult-to-read font) could inc...
Article
Full-text available
Differences in the impact of irrelevant sound on recall performance in children (aged 7-9 years old; N = 89) compared to adults (aged 18-22 years old; N = 89) were examined. Tasks that required serial rehearsal (serial and probed-order recall tasks) were contrasted with one that did not (the missing-item task) in the presence of irrelevant sound th...
Article
Full-text available
An ongoing debate surrounds whether bilinguals outperform monolinguals in tests of executive processing. The aim of this study was to investigate if there are long-term (10 year) bilingual advantages in executive processing, as indexed by dual-task performance, in a sample that were 40–65 years at baseline. The bilingual (n = 24) and monolingual (n...
Chapter
The basics components of E-Prime are described. E-Prime is a suite of computer programs developed by Psychology Software Tools, Inc. to allow the design and implementation of computer-based experiments.
Article
Full-text available
Deviant as well as changing auditory distractors interfere with short-term memory. According to the duplex model of auditory distraction, the deviation effect is caused by a shift of attention while the changing-state effect is due to obligatory order processing. This theory predicts that foreknowledge should reduce the deviation effect, but should...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely held that single-word lexical access is a competitive process, a view based largely on the observation that naming a picture is slowed in the presence of a distractor-word. However, problematic for this view is that a low-frequency distractor-word slows the naming of a picture more than does a high-frequency word. This supports an alte...
Article
Cell-phone conversation is ubiquitous within public spaces. The current study investigates whether ignored cell-phone conversation impairs eyewitness memory for a perpetrator. Participants viewed a video of a staged crime in the presence of 1 side of a comprehensible cell-phone conversation (meaningful halfalogue), 2 sides of a comprehensible cell-...
Article
Full-text available
A functional, perceptual-motor, account of serial short-term memory is examined by investigating the way in which an irrelevant spoken sequence interferes with verbal serial recall. Even with visual list-presentation, verbal serial recall is particularly susceptible to disruption by irrelevant spoken stimuli that have the same identity as—but which...
Article
The occurrence of an unexpected, infrequent sound in an otherwise homogeneous auditory background tends to disrupt the ongoing cognitive task. This ‘deviation effect’ is typically explained in terms of attentional capture whereby the deviant sound draws attention away from the focal activity, regardless of the nature of this activity. Yet, there is...
Data
Full-text available
A corrigendum on Failing to get the gist of what's being said: background noise impairs higher-order cognitive processing by Marsh
Article
Individuals with schizophrenia typically show increased levels of distractibility. This has been attributed to impaired working memory capacity (WMC), since lower WMC is typically associated with higher distractibility and schizophrenia is typically associated with impoverished WMC. Here, participants performed verbal and spatial serial recall task...