Investigating the effect of auditory intrusion (irrelevant speech/sound effect) and personality on working memory whilst observing neurological and physiological markers

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Carroll, Ruth
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of varying auditory interference and personality on performance in a cognitive memory test whilst observing individual differences in EEG, GSR and pulse rate readings. The effect of auditory interference on working memory tasks is called the irrelevant sound effect. A quantitative within subjects design was employed to assess the phenomenon of the irrelevant sound effect on free recall. Three separate presentations of a list of twenty words per presentation were presented to each participant whilst auditory intrusion was introduced during the display of the words and continued through the recall time. The level of recall was then analysed. The participants were 30 employed people in Dublin, Ireland from a sample of convenience and each participant completed The Big Five Taxonomy, (John& Srivastava, 1999). Their scores on the personality questionnaire were analysed together with their level of recall and EEG, GSR and Pulse rate readings. The results of this study did not reveal the irrelevant sound effect on free recall, however other significant correlations were found. Author keywords: Neurological, irrelevant sound effect, personality, EEG