Individual differences in distractibility: An update and a model
Version of Record online: 10 MAR 2014
© 2014 The Authors. PsyCh Journal published by Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd and Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Volume 3, Issue 1, pages 42–57, March 2014
How to Cite
Sörqvist, P. and Rönnberg, J. (2014), Individual differences in distractibility: An update and a model. PsyCh Journal, 3: 42–57. doi: 10.1002/pchj.47
- Issue online: 10 MAR 2014
- Version of Record online: 10 MAR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Received: 2 OCT 2013
- Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. Grant Number: P11-0617:1
- individual differences;
- selective attention;
- working memory capacity
This paper reviews the current literature on individual differences in susceptibility to the effects of background sound on visual-verbal task performance. A large body of evidence suggests that individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) underpin individual differences in susceptibility to auditory distraction in most tasks and contexts. Specifically, high WMC is associated with a more steadfast locus of attention (thus overruling the call for attention that background noise may evoke) and a more constrained auditory-sensory gating (i.e., less processing of the background sound). The relation between WMC and distractibility is a general framework that may also explain distractibility differences between populations that differ along variables that covary with WMC (such as age, developmental disorders, and personality traits). A neurocognitive task-engagement/distraction trade-off (TEDTOFF) model that summarizes current knowledge is outlined and directions for future research are proposed.