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  • 1.
    Haga, Andreas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Holmgren, Mattias
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Psychological restoration can depend on stimulus-source attribution: a challenge for the evolutionary account?2016In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 7, article id 1831Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Visiting or viewing nature environments can have restorative psychological effects, while exposure to the built environment typically has less positive effects. A classic view is that this difference in restorative potential of nature and built environments depends on differences in the intrinsic characteristics of the stimuli. In addition, an evolutionary account is often assumed whereby restoration is believed to be a hardwired response to nature’s stimulus-features. Here, we propose the novel hypothesis that the restorative effects of a stimulus do not entirely depend on the stimulus-features per se, but also on the meaning that people assign to the stimulus. Participants conducted cognitively demanding tests prior to and after a brief pause. During the pause, the participants were exposed to an ambiguous sound consisting of pink noise with white noise interspersed. Participants in the “nature sound-source condition” were told that the sound originated from a nature scene with a waterfall; participants in the “industrial sound-source condition” were told that the sound originated from an industrial environment with machinery; and participants in the “control condition” were told nothing about the sound origin. Self-reported mental exhaustion showed that participants in the nature sound-source condition were more psychologically restored after the pause than participants in the industrial sound-source condition. One potential interpretation of the results is that restoration from nature experiences depends on learned, positive associations with nature; not only on hardwired responses shaped by evolution.

  • 2.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    A Shield against Distraction from Environmental Noise2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Working in noisy environments can be detrimental to cognitive performance. In order to perform well people have to find a way to attenuate distraction. This thesis aimed to study the balance between distractibility and task demands in the context of office-related tasks as a means by which to better understand how people in the work environment are influenced by environmental noise.

    In Report 1, 2 and 3 higher focal-task difficulty was achieved by manipulating the readability of the text that participants were asked to read (i.e. either displaying the text in hard-to-read font or by masking it with static visual noise). The results of Report 1 and Report 2 showed that background speech impaired performance on proofreading and memory for written stories respectively compared to silence, but only when the focaltask difficulty was low, not when it was high.

    In Report 3 it was shown that background speech, road traffic noise, and aircraft noise impaired performance on text memory compared to silence, but again, only when focal-task difficulty was low.

    In Report 4 it was tested whether higher cognitive load on the focal task would reduce peripheral processing of a to-be-ignored background story. The results of Report 4 showed that participants in the low-load condition recalled more of the information conveyed in the to-be-ignored background story compared to participants in the high-load condition. It was also investigated whether individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) would influence participants’ memory for written stories (Report 2) and incidental memory of the to-background story (Report 4) differently depending on task demand.

    The results showed that individuals scoring high on the WMC-test were less distracted by background speech in the easy-to-read font condition (Report 2), and recalled less of the information in the to-be-ignored background story in the low-cognitive load condition (Report 4) compared to individuals that scored lower on the WMC-test. These relationships were not found in the hard-to-read font condition in Report 2, or in the high-cognitive load condition in Report 4. Taken together, these results indicate that higher focal-task difficulty can shield against the detrimental effect environmental noise on performance on office-related tasks. Moreover, it shows that higher focal-task difficulty can help individuals with low-WMC to reach a level of performance that is similar to that of high-capacity individuals.

  • 3.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Distracted While Reading? Changing to A Hard-to-read Font Shields against the Effects of Environmental Noise and Speech on Text Memory2016In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 7, article id 1196Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the distractive effects of background speech, aircraft noise and road traffic noise on text memory and particularly to examine if displaying the texts in a hard-to-read font can shield against the detrimental effects of these types of background sounds. This issue was addressed in an experiment where 56 students read shorter texts about different classes of fictitious creatures (i.e., animals, fishes, birds, and dinosaurs) against a background of the aforementioned background sounds respectively and silence. For half of the participants the texts were displayed in an easy-to-read font (i.e., Times New Roman) and for the other half in a hard-to-read font (i.e., Haettenschweiler). The dependent measure was the proportion correct answers on the multiple-choice tests that followed each sound condition. Participants’ performance in the easy-to-read font condition was significantly impaired by all three background sound conditions compared to silence. In contrast, there were no effects of the three background sound conditions compared to silence in the hard-to-read font condition. These results suggest that an increase in task demand - by displaying the text in a hard-to-read font - shields against various types of distracting background sounds by promoting a more steadfast locus-of-attention and by reducing the processing of background sound. 

  • 4.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Higher task difficulty shields against the effects of road traffic noise and air traffic noise on recall for written text2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Halin, Niklas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Holmgren, Mattias
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Haga, Andreas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    The Effects of Sound on Proofreading: Can Task Engagement Shield from Distraction2013Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Performance on various cognitive tasks is impaired by task-irrelevant speech. The objective of this study was to manipulate the detrimental effects of task-irrelevant speech on a proofreading task, by increasing task engagement using an odd font (i.e. Haettenschweiler vs. Times). Texts were proofread in three different sound conditions (i.e. quiet, task-irrelevant speech and spectrally rotated speech). The participants searched for words (i.e. either content or function words) that were either misspelled or exchanged with contextually inappropriate words. Speech impaired detection of exchanged function words, but only when the text was written in Times, not when written in the odd font. Moreover, the participants missed fewer misspelled words in the speech condition, especially in Times, and they read more slowly in this sound condition. Taken together, these results indicate that proofreading behavior changes in the presence of task-irrelevant speech, to a more superficial/structural level of text processing (hence the improvement in detection of misspelled words), in comparison to the deeper/semantic level of text processing in the quiet condition (i.e., better detection of contextually inappropriate words). Greater task engagement (as indexed by the Haettenschweiler font), however, appears to protect the participant from the effect of sound on the ability to detect contextually inappropriate words.

  • 6.
    Halin, Niklas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. University of Gävle.
    Marsh, John E.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Central load reduces peripheral processing: evidence from incidental memory of background speech2015In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 56, no 6, p. 607-612Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Is there a trade-off between central (working memory) load and peripheral (perceptual) processing? To address this question, participants were requested to undertake an n-back task in one of two levels of central/cognitive load (i.e., 1-back or 2-back) in the presence of a to-be-ignored story presented via headphones. Participants were told to ignore the background story, but they were given a surprise memory test of what had been said in the background story, immediately after the n-back task was completed. Memory was poorer in the high central load (2-back) condition in comparison with the low central load (1-back) condition. Hence, when people compensate for higher central load, by increasing attentional engagement, peripheral processing is constrained. Moreover, participants with high working memory capacity (WMC)—with a superior ability for attentional engagement—remembered less of the background story, but only in the low central load condition. Taken together, peripheral processing—as indexed by incidental memory of background speech—is constrained when task engagement is high.

  • 7.
    Halin, Niklas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Marsh, John
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. University of Central Lanchashire.
    Haga, Andreas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Holmgren, Mattias
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. Linköping University.
    Effects of speech on proofreading: can task-engagement manipulations shield against distraction?2014In: Journal of experimental psychology. Applied, ISSN 1076-898X, E-ISSN 1939-2192, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 69-80Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article reports 2 experiments that examine techniques to shield against the potentially disruptive effects of task-irrelevant background speech on proofreading. The participants searched for errors in texts that were either normal (i.e., written in Times New Roman font) or altered (i.e., presented either in Haettenschweiler font or in Times New Roman but masked by visual noise) in 2 sound conditions: a silent condition and a condition with background speech. Proofreading for semantic/contextual errors was impaired by speech, but only when the text was normal. This effect of speech was completely abolished when the text was written in an altered font (Experiment 1) or when it was masked by visual noise (Experiment 2). There was no functional difference between the 2 ways to alter the text with regard to the way the manipulations influenced the effects of background speech on proofreading. The results indicate that increased task demands, which lead to greater focal-task engagement, may shield against the distracting effects of background speech on proofreading. 

  • 8.
    Halin, Niklas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Marsh, John
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. Preston University.
    Hellman, Anna
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Hellström, Ida
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden .
    A shield against distraction2014In: Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, ISSN 2211-3681, E-ISSN 2211-369X, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 31-36Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, we apply the basic idea of a trade-off between the level of concentration and distractibility to test whether a manipulation of task difficulty can shield against distraction. Participants read, either in quiet or with a speech noise background, texts that were displayed either in an easy-to-read or a hard-to-read font. Background speech impaired prose recall, but only when the text was displayed in the easy-to-read font. Most importantly, recall was better in the background speech condition for hard-to-read than for easy-to-read texts. Moreover, individual differences in working memory capacity were related to the magnitude of disruption, but only in the easy-to-read condition. Making a task more difficult can sometimes facilitate selective attention in noisy work environments by promoting focal-task engagement. 

  • 9.
    Halin, Niklas
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. University of Gävle.
    Marsh, John
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. Linnaeus Centre HEAD, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
    Higher Task Difficulty Shields Against Background Speech2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Performance on visual-verbal tasks is generally impaired by task-irrelevant background speech, which can have consequences for individuals who works in noisy environments (e.g., schools or offices). This study examined the role increased task difficulty plays in shielding against the effects of background speech. This issue was addressed across 4 experiments whereby the level of task difficulty on visual-verbal tasks was manipulated (e.g., by changing the font of a text to one that is harder to read). Experiments 1 to 3 qualified the general finding: that background speech impairs performance on visual-verbal tasks (proofreading and prose memory), but only when task difficulty was low, not when it was high. Moreover, experiment 4 demonstrates that higher task difficulty on the focal task (n-back) also reduces recall on a surprise memory test on the content of a to-be-ignored background story. These results suggest that an increase in task difficulty, which promotes greater task engagement, can shield against the detrimental effects of background speech and also constrain the processing of complex semantic information present in background speech. 

  • 10.
    Jahncke, Helena
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Performance, fatigue and stress in open-plan offices: the effects of noise and restoration on hearing impaired and normal hearing individuals2012In: Noise & Health, ISSN 1463-1741, E-ISSN 1998-4030, Vol. 14, no 60, p. 260-272Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Hearing impaired and normal hearing individuals were compared in two within-participant office noise conditions (high noise: 60 L Aeq and low noise: 30 L Aeq ). Performance, subjective fatigue, and physiological stress were tested during working on a simulated open-plan office. We also tested two between-participants restoration conditions following the work period with high noise (nature movie or continued office noise). Participants with a hearing impairment (N = 20) were matched with normal hearing participants (N = 18) and undertook one practice session and two counterbalanced experimental sessions. In each experimental session they worked for two hours with basic memory and attention tasks. We also measured physiological stress indicators (cortisol and catecholamines) and self-reports of mood and fatigue. The hearing impaired participants were more affected by high noise than the normal hearing participants, as shown by impaired performance for tasks that involve recall of semantic information. The hearing impaired participants were also more fatigued by high noise exposure than participants with normal hearing, and they tended to have higher stress hormone levels during the high noise compared to the low noise condition. Restoration with a movie increased performance and motivation for the normal hearing participants, while rest with continued noise did not. For the hearing impaired participants, continued noise during rest increased motivation and performance, while the movie did not. In summary, the impact of noise and restorative conditions varied with the hearing characteristics of the participants. The small sample size does however encourage caution when interpreting the results.

  • 11.
    Jahncke, Helena
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Hygge, Staffan
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Green, Anne Marie
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Dimberg, Kent
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Electronics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Biology.
    An experiment on noise and cognition in a simulated open-plan office2010In: 39th International Congress on Noise Control Engineering 2010, INTER-NOISE 2010, Lisbon, Portugal: Portuguese acoustical society , 2010, Vol. 4, p. 2827-2836Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the present study was to investigate cognitive, emotional, and physiological effects of two background noise conditions (high noise: 51 LAeq and low noise: 39 LAeq) during work in a simulated open-plan office, followed by four restoration conditions (river movie with sound, only river sound, silence, and office noise) after the work period. Students (N = 47) went through one practice session and two experimental sessions, one each with the low and high noise conditions. In each experimental session they worked for two hours with tasks involving basic working memory processes. We also took physiological measures of stress (cortisol and catecholamine) and self-reports of mood and fatigue. The results showed that the participants remembered fewer words, rated themselves as more tired and less motivated in high noise compared to low noise. The participants showed high levels of cortisol when they arrived to the experimental session and they had a significant (p <.001) decline in both noise conditions after two hours of work. An identical decline was shown in the norepinephrine levels (p < 0.001). The restoration phase also indicated that the sound conditions may promote different restorative experiences. To conclude, the present study showed that noise level can be of importance for working memory performance and subjective feelings of tiredness and motivation in an open-plan office and that varying sound conditions may promote different restorative experiences.

  • 12.
    Jahncke, Helena
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Hygge, Staffan
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Green, Anne Marie
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Dimberg, Kenth
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Electronics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Biology.
    Open-plan office noise: Cognitive performance and restoration2011In: Journal of Environmental Psychology, ISSN 0272-4944, E-ISSN 1522-9610, Vol. 31, no 4, p. 373-382Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Marsh, John
    et al.
    University of Central Lancashire.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Nöstl, Anatole
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Jones, Dylan
    Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain.
    Auditory distraction compromises random generation: Falling back into old habits?2013In: Experimental psychology (Göttingen), ISSN 1618-3169, E-ISSN 2190-5142, Vol. 60, no 4, p. 279-292Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 14.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för inomhusmiljö.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Department of Education and Psychology, Ämnesavdelningen för psykologi.
    Hygge, Staffan
    University of Gävle, Department of Technology and Built Environment, Ämnesavdelningen för inomhusmiljö.
    Disruption of reading comprehension by irrelevant speech: the role of updating in working memory2008In: ICBEN 2008: Machantucket Connecticut, USA, July 21-25, 2008: the 9th Congress of the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise: Noise as a Public Health Problem: Proceedings (edited by Barbara Griefahn), Dortmund: IfADo , 2008, p. 410-417Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This investigation examined the relationship between updating in working memory and the effect of irrelevant speech on reading comprehension. In updating tasks, participants can make two types of errors labelled delayed intrusions and immediate intrusions. Delayed intrusions measures people’s ability to suppress active information in working memory, while immediate intrusions measure people’s ability to inhibit information from becoming too active. In our study, a negative relationship between reading comprehension and delayed intrusions was found, and reading comprehension was disrupted by irrelevant speech. This disruption was larger for participants with poor updating ability, specifically for those who made a lot of immediate intrusion errors. The results suggest that people with poor updating ability are not only less able to comprehend what they read, but also more susceptible to the disruptive effects from background speech while reading.

  • 15.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Psychology.
    Hygge, Staffan
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Individual differences in susceptibility to the effects of speech on reading comprehension2010In: Applied Cognitive Psychology, ISSN 0888-4080, E-ISSN 1099-0720, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 67-76Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Individuals with high working memory capacity (WMC) are less distracted by task-irrelevant speech than others. The mechanism behind this relationship, however, is not well understood, and it has only been found in a few paradigms. We used a Number updating task to measure WMC and two suppression mechanisms (immediate and delayed), and tested how they were associated with individual differences in susceptibility to the effects of speech on reading comprehension. The results revealed a negative relationship between WMC and susceptibility to speech distraction. Of the two suppression mechanisms, only immediate suppression was associated with speech distraction, suggesting that susceptibility to distraction is determined by the ability to immediately suppress the irrelevant speech. Furthermore, the relationship between WMC and speech distraction was mediated by the immediate suppression mechanism. The implications of these results and possible explanations of similar results found in other paradigms are discussed.

  • 16.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Kjellberg, Anders
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Home advantage in chess2013In: Journal of Sport Behavior, ISSN 0162-7341, Vol. 36, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Marsh, John
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    How concentration shields against distraction2015Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 18.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Nöstl, Anatole
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Psychology.
    Disruption of writing processes by the semanticity of background speech2012In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 53, no 2, p. 97-102Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Previous studies have noted that writing processes are impaired by task-irrelevant background sound. However, what makes sound distracting to writing processes has remained unaddressed. The experiment reported here investigated whether the semanticity of irrelevant speech contributes to disruption of writing processes beyond the acoustic properties of the sound. The participants wrote stories against a background of normal speech, spectrally-rotated speech (i.e., a meaningless sound with marked acoustic resemblance to speech) or silence. Normal speech impaired quantitative (e.g., number of characters produced) and qualitative/semantic (e.g., uncorrected typing errors, proposition generation) aspects of the written material, in comparison with the other two sound conditions, and it increased the duration of pauses between words. No difference was found between the silent and the rotated-speech condition. These results suggest that writing is susceptible to disruption from the semanticity of speech but not especially susceptible to disruption from the acoustic properties of speech.

  • 19.
    Sörqvist, Patrik
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Nöstl, Anatole
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Buildning science - applied psychology.
    Halin, Niklas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Psychology.
    Working memory capacity modulates habituation rate: Evidence from a cross-modal auditory distraction paradigm2012In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, ISSN 1069-9384, E-ISSN 1531-5320, Vol. 19, no 2, p. 245-250Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Habituation of the orienting response is a pivotal part of selective attention, and previous research has related working memory capacity (WMC) to attention control. Against this background, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether individual differences in WMC contribute to habituation rate. The participants categorized visual targets across six blocks of trials. Each target was preceded either by a standard sound or, on rare trials, by a deviant. The magnitude of the deviation effect (i.e., prolonged response time when the deviant was presented) was relatively large in the beginning but attenuated toward the end. There was no relationship between WMC and the deviation effect at the beginning, but there was at the end, and greater WMC was associated with greater habituation. These results indicate that high memory ability increases habituation rate, and they support theories proposing a role for cognitive control in habituation and in some forms of auditory distraction.

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