Disruption of writing processes by the semanticity of background speech.
Immediate serial recall of visually presented verbal stimuli is impaired by the presence of irrelevant auditory background speech, the so-called irrelevant speech effect. Two of the three main accounts of this effect place restrictions on when it will be observed, limiting its occurrence either to items processed by the phonological loop (the phonological loop hypothesis) or to items that are not too dissimilar from the irrelevant speech (the feature model). A third, the object-oriented episodic record (O-OER) model, requires only that the memory task involves seriation. The present studies test these three accounts by examining whether irrelevant auditory speech will interfere with a task that does not involve the phonological loop, does not use stimuli that are compatible with those to be remembered, but does require seriation. Two experiments found that irrelevant speech led to lower levels of performance in a visual statistical learning task, offering more support for the O-OER model and posing a challenge for the other two accounts.