Congratulations to Irune on her latest publication!

Irune's study, carried out with colleagues at the University of Oxford and the University of Barcelona, investigated the influence of language codes in the spatial representation of auditory pitch and loudness. The results show that, compared to Spanish and Catalan speakers, English speaker exhibit a greater degree of interaction between a sound's pitch and the spatial positioning of response buttons used to categorize that pitch as high or low. These findings provide new evidence of the overlap interplay between the spatial representations associated with language and pitch processing.

Fernandez-Prieto, I., Spence, C., Pons, F., & Navarra, J. (2017). Does Language Influence the Vertical Representation of Auditory Pitch and Loudness. I-Perception, 8(3), 1-11, doi: 10.1177/2041669517716183.

Neurocog at ESCoP 2017

ESCoP 2017, Potsdam, 3-6 September

ESCoP 2017, Potsdam, 3-6 September

The 20th Conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) is kicking off this September 3rd in Potsdam, Germany. The meeting, held every four years, will gather hundreds of researchers in cognitive psychology and related. Our group will be present there with three presentations by Alicia Leiva, Pilar Andrés and Fabrice Parmentier.

Fabrice Parmentier's will present some of his latest work on deviance distraction. The talk will be part of a symposium entitled "Cognition at the brink of failure: The multiple facets of auditory distraction" organized by Stefan Berti (University of Mainz, Germany) and János Horvñath (Hungarian Academy of Science). The presentation will describe recent work suggesting that deviant sounds cause behavioral distraction by triggering an orientation response away from the task at hand and by perturbing ongoing action plans.

Alicia Leiva, Pilar Andrés and Fabrice Parmentier will present two posters. One presents work investigating the relation between deviance distraction, working memory capacity and response inhibition in children, young and older adults. The study concludes that deviance distraction and its variations across age groups are not accounted for by variations in working memory capacity or response inhibition. The other poster presents a new analysis of past data on the effect of aging on cross-modal deviance distraction, showing that this effect remains visible using a relative measure of deviance distraction controlling for variations in overall response speed.

Congratulations to Enrique on his latest publication!

Simulated driving task used to study the effect of blue-enriched white light on arousal and driving performance.

Simulated driving task used to study the effect of blue-enriched white light on arousal and driving performance.

Together with colleagues at the University of Granada and the University of Murcia, Enrique Molina just published a study investigating the effect of blue-enriched white light and long-wavelength orange light on arousal and driving performance. The results indicate that blue-enriched white light enhanced physiological arousal but did not improve reaction times or driving performance in a driving simulation. The study concludes that the increase in arousal yielded by the exposure to blue-enriched white light may prejudicial in certain tasks requiring high precision behavior.

Rodríguez-Morilla, B., Madrid, J. A., Molina, E., & Correa, A. (2017). Blue-Enriched White Light Enhances Physiological Arousal But Not Behavioral Performance during Simulated Driving at Early Night. Frontiers in Psychology, 22 June, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00997

Welcome to Irune and Enrique!

This week we're pleased to welcome two new researchers, Irune Fernandez-Prieto and Enrique Molina.

Enrique is a psychologist with a degree in Computing, a MSc in Neuroscience. He's also about to submit in PhD thesis in Neuroscience. He will be working with Fabrice Parmentier on his Bial-funded project on attention and mindfulness and assist with his research on auditory distraction.

Irune is a psychologist with a MSc in Evolution and Cognition, and a PhD in Experimental Psychology specializing in auditory and cross-modal cognition. She will be working with Fabrice Parmentier on his MINECO-funded project on auditory distraction by unexpected sounds.

New study on selective directed forgetting: inhibition rather than reduced rehearsal or context change

A new study by Aguirre, Gomez-Ariza, Andrés, Mazzoni, Bajo has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Psychology. The study explores the cognitive mechanisms of directed forgetting, a phenomenon referring to impaired memory arising from an instruction to forget the unwanted material. In this study the authors suggest that neither verbal rehearsal nor context change are sufficient to account for the directed forgetting phenomenon and that the data are compatible with an inhibition account.


While some studies have shown that providing a cue to selectively forget one subset of previously learned facts may cause specific forgetting of this information, little is known about the mechanisms underlying this memory phenomenon. In three experiments we aimed to better understand the nature of the selective directed forgetting (SDF) effect. Participants studied a List 1 consisting of 18 sentences regarding two (or three) different characters and a List 2 consisting of sentences regarding an additional character. In Experiment 1, we explored the role of rehearsal as the mechanism producing SDF by examining the effect of articulatory suppression after List 1 and during List 2 presentation. In Experiment 2 and 3 we explored the role of attentional control mechanisms by introducing a concurrent updating task after List 1 and during List 2 (Experiment 2) and by manipulating the number of characters to be selectively forgotten (1 out of 3 vs. 2 out of 3). Results from the three experiments suggest that neither rehearsal nor context change seem to be the mechanisms underlying SDF, while the pattern of results is consistent with an inhibitory account. In addition, whatever the responsible mechanism is, SDF seems to rely on the available attentional resources and the demands of the task. Our results join other findings to show that SDF is a robust phenomenon and suggest boundary conditions for the effect to be observed.

Aguirre, C., Gomez-Ariza, C. J., Andrés, P., Mazzoni, G., Bajo, T. (2017). Exploring mechanisms of selective directed forgetting. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:316. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00316