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Open-plan office noise: the susceptibility and suitability of different cognitive tasks for work in the presence of irrelevant speech
Högskolan i Gävle, Akademin för teknik och miljö, Avdelningen för bygg- energi- och miljöteknik, Byggvetenskap - tillämpad psykologi. (Environmental psychology)ORCID-id: 0000-0002-6668-5044
2012 (Engelska)Ingår i: Noise & Health, ISSN 1463-1741, E-ISSN 1998-4030, Vol. 14, nr 61, s. 315-320Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study was to test which tasks are suitable for work in open-plan offices according to how susceptible they are to disruption produced by the mere presence of irrelevant speech. The tasks were chosen to tap fundamental capacities of office work involving: search for relevant information, remembering material, counting, and generation of words. The hypothesis was that tasks requiring semantic processing should be impaired by irrelevant speech. To determine the magnitude of performance decrease, two sound conditions (quiet, irrelevant speech) were compared. The results showed that tasks based on episodic short-term-memory and rehearsal of the presented material were more sensitive to disruption by irrelevant speech than tasks which did not require rehearsal or were based on long-term memory retrieval. The present study points to the inappropriateness of tasks, such as information search and remembering of material, for work environments within which irrelevant speech is ubiquitous.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2012. Vol. 14, nr 61, s. 315-320
Nyckelord [en]
semantic auditory distraction; noise; working memory; long-term memory
Nationell ämneskategori
Tillämpad psykologi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-11656DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.104901ISI: 000313350600010Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84872184330OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-11656DiVA, id: diva2:512846
Tillgänglig från: 2012-03-29 Skapad: 2012-03-29 Senast uppdaterad: 2018-03-13Bibliografiskt granskad
Ingår i avhandling
1. Cognitive Performance and Restoration in Open-Plan Office Noise
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Cognitive Performance and Restoration in Open-Plan Office Noise
2012 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Alternativ titel[sv]
Kognitiv prestation och återhämtning under buller i kontorslandskap
Abstract [en]

This dissertation presents four experimental studies (in four papers) with the overall aim to investigate the effects of office noise on cognitive performance and restoration. In the first two papers the focus was on the effects of different sound levels (i.e., the mean level from all sound sources at an office, such as speech, phones, people walking) on performance, fatigue and stress. In the last two papers the focus was on the effects of background speech, as this has previously been shown to be the most disturbing noise source in open-plan offices. Paper I demonstrated decreased word memory performance, increased fatigue and motivational deficits when the background sound level increased by 12 dB, from 39 to 51 dB LAeq. Paper II showed that the sound level effects were more pronounced for individuals with a hearing impairment. Unexpectedly, no effects were found of acute noise exposure on the participant´s stress hormone levels (Paper I and Paper II).

          Regarding effects of irrelevant speech, Paper III showed that cognitive performance decreased as a function of background speech intelligibility, the higher the intelligibility depicted by the Speech Transmission Index (STI), the worse the performance. The results indicated that the STI-value must be less than 0.50, to avoid a negative influence on performance. Further, both Paper III and IV showed that performance is more impaired by background speech if the focal task requires episodic memory and rehearsal—such as word memory and information search. Interestingly, some tasks were insensitive for speech.

          The restorative effects of a break were addressed in Paper I and II (i.e., directly after the work sessions in noise). The break period differed in content between the participants. Paper I showed that a break with a nature movie with corresponding sound increased energy ratings compared to just listening to river sounds or office noise. Continued exposure to office noise gave the lowest ratings of motivation after the break. Paper II showed improved arithmetic performance and motivation after the break with a nature movie and decreased performance and motivation after continued noise exposure. For the hearing impaired participants, however, continued noise during the break increased motivation and performance, while the movie did not.

          Taken together, the current thesis demonstrates that open-plan office noise can have a negative impact on fatigue, motivation and performance. How much performance is impaired varies with the cognitive processes required by the tasks performed and hearing status. Moreover, continued noise exposure during a short break can further decrease motivation and subsequent performance.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2012. s. 136
Serie
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1544
Nationell ämneskategori
Tillämpad psykologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-13312 (URN)978-91-7439-495-5 (ISBN)
Disputation
2012-11-23, Luleå, 11:00 (Svenska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2012-11-12 Skapad: 2012-10-28 Senast uppdaterad: 2018-03-13Bibliografiskt granskad

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