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Auditory distraction in open-plan study environments: Effects of background speech and reverberation time on a collaboration task
Avans University of Applied Sciences, Tilburg, the Netherlands; Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands .
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8311-2478
Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands.
Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands.
2019 (English)In: Applied Acoustics, ISSN 0003-682X, E-ISSN 1872-910X, Vol. 154, p. 148-160Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research has shown that semantic-based tasks are negatively influenced by semantic aspects in background speech. Collaboration is an important task in open-plan study environments and is a semantic task which might be disrupted by background speech. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the influence of irrelevant background speech on student-collaboration. Participants worked in pairs to solve spot-the-difference puzzles, by using the 'DiapixUK' collaboration task, while they were exposed to different background sound scenarios. The composed sound scenarios varied in semantic content (mother tongue and foreign language background speech)and reverberation time (short vs long), the latter affecting speech intelligibility. Although a longer reverberation time decreases the intelligibility of background speech and a foreign language decreases meaningfulness of speech, no significant changes in performance were found. On the other hand, the data show an increased perceived disturbance for a longer reverberation time, which we interpret as an increased difficulty of interpersonal communication in the collaboration task due to the increased level of the background speech. The quiet reference condition was the most preferred sound condition which is in line with both the effect of a low background sound level and the absence of semantic interference. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 154, p. 148-160
Keywords [en]
Background speech, Collaboration task, Language, Noise disturbance, Open-plan study environments, Reverberation time, Task performance, Architectural acoustics, Reverberation, Semantics, Speech communication, Speech intelligibility
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-29909DOI: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2019.04.038ISI: 000471734300018Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85065132668OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-29909DiVA, id: diva2:1324979
Note

Funding agency:

Doctoral Grant for Teachers by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Grant no. 023.006.025 

Available from: 2019-06-14 Created: 2019-06-14 Last updated: 2019-08-23Bibliographically approved

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Keus van de Poll, Marijke

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