Unmasking the effects of masking on performance: the potential of multiple-voice masking in the office environment
2015 (English)In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 138, no 2, 807-816 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Broadband noise is often used as a masking sound to combat the negative consequences of background speech on performance in open-plan offices. As office workers generally dislike broadband noise, it is important to find alternatives that are more appreciated while being at least not less effective. The purpose of experiment 1 was to compare broadband noise with two alternatives—multiple voices and water waves—in the context of a serial short-term memory task. A single voice impaired memory in comparison with silence, but when the single voice was masked with multiple voices, performance was on level with silence. Experiment 2 explored the benefits of multiple-voice masking in more detail (by comparing one voice, three voices, fivevoices, and seven voices) in the context of word processed writing (arguably a more office-relevant task). Performance (i.e., writing fluency) increased linearly from worst performance in the one-voice condition to best performance in the seven-voice condition. Psychological mechanisms underpinning these effects are discussed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 138, no 2, 807-816 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20031DOI: 10.1121/1.4926904ISI: 000360652900036PubMedID: 26328697ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84939808291OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20031DiVA: diva2:841973