New paper in press in Neuropsychologia
Wöstmann, Lui, Friese, Kreitewolf, Naujokat and Obleser demonstrate that the vulnerability of working memory to auditory distraction is rhythmic.
Previous research has shown that the attentional sampling of target stimuli is rhythmic at ~3–8 Hz (e.g. Fiebelkorn et al. 2013; Landau & Fries, 2012). In the present study, Malte Wöstmann and colleagues tested to what extent the suppression of distractor stimuli would be rhythmic, as well. Indeed, two measures of distraction – memory recall accuracy and the distractor-evoked N1 ERP component – were periodically modulated at slow frequencies (~2–4 Hz) by the temporal onset of a distracting speech stimulus.
In a follow-up experiment, the rhythmic distractibility could be replicated: In a visual match-to-sample task, memory recall accuracy was periodically modulated at ~2.75 Hz by the onset of a distracting noise stimulus during memory retention.
The paper is available here.
For a preprint of the paper, see.