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Factors affecting pupils’ noise annoyance in schools: The building and testing of models
University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för inomhusmiljö.
University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för inomhusmiljö.
2004 (English)In: Environment and Behavior, ISSN 0013-9165, E-ISSN 1552-390X, Vol. 36, no 2, p. 207-228Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article reports two studies intended to develop and assess conceptual models of how different factors mediate and moderate the annoyance reaction in school environments. In the first, a survey of 207 pupils was conducted where assumptions about mediators and moderators were formulated and tested. In the best model, general sensitivity and adaptation led to a higher degree of annoyance causing stress symptoms. In the second study, focus group interviews with 16 pupils were performed to set up a model of mediating and moderating factors from pupils' statements in the formation of annoyance. The objective was also to get their opinions about ways to improve the sound environment in school. The interviews indicated a serial arrangement in which stress symptoms and distraction mediated between chatter and disturbance. Thus, the two studies suggested different models for the prediction of the annoyance reaction. The pupils' views about how to improve the school sound environment are discussed in the framework of an empowerment model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 36, no 2, p. 207-228
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-2906DOI: 10.1177/0013916503256644ISI: 000189148400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-2906DiVA, id: diva2:119568
Available from: 2007-11-15 Created: 2007-11-15 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Noise in the school environment: Memory and Annoyance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Noise in the school environment: Memory and Annoyance
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Objectives.The general objectives of this dissertationwere to examine the effects of acute exposure to meaningfulirrelevant speech and road traffic noise on memory performance,and to explore annoyance responses to noise exposure in theschool environment for pupils and teachers in different agegroups.

Methods. The thesis comprises seven papers, representingdifferent methodological approaches: experiments, surveystudies and interviews. In the experiments, reported in PapersI-V, 288 pupils and teachers participated in the age groups,13-14 years (n=96), 18-20 years (n=96), 35-45 years (n=48) and55-65 years (n=48). The subjects were randomly assigned to oneof three conditions: (a) meaningful irrelevant speech, (b) roadtraffic noise, and (c) silence. The equivalent sound level inthe noise conditions was set to 66 dB(A). A test batteryreflecting episodic and semantic memory were used. The surveystudies, reported in Paper VI and VII, included 207 pupils(M=13.5) and 166 teachers (M=45.9). Two separate questionnairesmainly comprising items about annoyance, noise sensitivity andstress symptoms were administered. Paper VI presents results offocus group interviews (n=16) treating the main topics:disturbing sounds, emotions, ongoing activity, and suggestionsconcerning future changes. Results. The overall findings showedthat both noise sources affected episodic and semantic memoryto the same degree for all age groups. The results indicatedthat the similarity of semantic content between noise and thetask at hand was not the only suitable explanation model, sincea non-speech noise impaired memory as much as speech.

Resultsalso indicated that attention effects did notmediate the obtained noise effects and that the noise effectsdid not differ between age groups. Therefore, it seemedunlikely that different memory and attentional capacities stoodout as explanatory factors of the memory effects. Sinceperformances of both episodic and semantic memory tasks wereimpaired, the explanation based on level of access to long-termmemory was also ruled out. However, the episodic memory task,reading comprehension, stood out to be most impaired by noise,suggesting that complexity of the task to perform was ofimportance. For reading comprehension there was also adifferent noise pattern obtained. Participants performance wasin this task, more impaired by meaningful irrelevant speechthan by road traffic noise. This effect indicated thatmeaningful irrelevant speech might reduce the availablecognitive resources necessary for learning the text. Theannoyance models derived from the survey studies indicated thatsensitivity acted as a mediator between hearing status andannoyance, with stress symptoms as an outcome. Whetherannoyance arises or not was also determined by control andpredictability of the noise. In the interviews a differentannoyance pattern was found, in that stress symptoms appearedto be a determinant of annoyance. To be involved, respected,take own responsibility and respect others were suggestions onhow to change the environment to become more silent.

Conclusions.For both pupils and teachers acute exposureto meaningful irrelevant speech and road traffic noiseinfluenced both the achieving and providing of knowledge. Acommon annoyance pattern was also found for pupils andteachers, where individual and situational factors were ofimportance. To achieve a more silent school environment in thefuture, the pupils pointed out that the interaction betweenthemselves and their teachers was of importance.

Key words:Noise, meaningful irrelevant speech, roadtraffic noise, memory, age groups, school environment, pupils,teachers

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Byggvetenskap, 2004. p. 59
Keyword
Noise, meaningful irrelevant speech, road traffic noise, memory, age group, school environment, pupils, teachers
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-12862 (URN)91-7283-718-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-04-23, 00:00
Available from: 2012-09-13 Created: 2012-09-12 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Boman, EvaEnmarker, Ingela

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