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Cross-modal interference-control is reduced in childhood but maintained in aging: a cohort study of stimulus-and response-interference in cross-modal and unimodal Stroop tasks

Hirst, Rebecca J.; Kicks, Ella C.; Allen, Harriet A.; Cragg, Lucy

Authors

Rebecca J. Hirst

Ella C. Kicks

LUCY CRAGG lucy.cragg@nottingham.ac.uk
Associate Professor



Abstract

Interference-control is the ability to exclude distractions and focus on a specific task or stimulus. However, it is currently unclear whether the same interference-control mechanisms underlie the ability to ignore unimodal and cross-modal distractions. In two experiments we assessed whether unimodal and cross-modal interference follow similar trajectories in development and aging and occur at similar processing levels. In Experiment 1, 42 children
(6-11 years), 31 younger adults (18-25 years) and 32 older adults (60-84 years) identified colour rectangles with either written (unimodal) or spoken (cross-modal) distractor-words. Stimuli could be congruent, incongruent but mapped to the same response (stimulus-incongruent), or incongruent and mapped to different responses (response-incongruent), thus separating interference occurring at early (sensory) and late (response) processing levels. Unimodal interference was worst in childhood and old age; however, older adults maintained the ability to ignore cross-modal distraction. Unimodal but not cross-modal response interference also reduced accuracy. In Experiment 2 we compared the effect of audition on vision and vice versa in 52 children (6-11 years), 30 young adults (22-33 years) and 30 older adults (60-84 years). As in Experiment 1, older adults maintained the ability to ignore cross-modal distraction arising from either modality and neither type of cross-modal distraction limited accuracy in adults. However cross-modal distraction still reduced accuracy in children and children were more slowed by stimulus-interference compared with adults. We conclude that; unimodal and cross-modal interference follow different lifespan trajectories and differences in stimulus- and response-interference may increase cross-modal distractibility in childhood.

Citation

Hirst, R. J., Kicks, E. C., Allen, H. A., & Cragg, L. (2019). Cross-modal interference-control is reduced in childhood but maintained in aging: a cohort study of stimulus-and response-interference in cross-modal and unimodal Stroop tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 45(5), 553-572. https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000608

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 5, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 4, 2019
Publication Date May 30, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 10, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 10, 2018
Journal Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Print ISSN 0096-1523
Electronic ISSN 1939-1277
Publisher American Psychological Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 5
Pages 553-572
DOI https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000608
Keywords Aging; Development; Cross-modal distraction; Stimulus-interference; Response-interference; Vision; Hearing
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1157114
Publisher URL https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2019-18471-001.html

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