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Room acoustics and cognitive load when listening to speech
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis investigated the effects of background noise or a long reverberation time in learning situations. All studies used spoken texts that were presented above the speech intelligibility threshold, but were degraded enough to make listening more effortful. The basic hypothesis for the whole project was that listening to speech in a bad acoustic environment should increase the cognitive load for the listener, which should impair memory of the text. In Paper I the auditory stimuli were lists of words and sentences that were degraded by a background noise. Paper II was a replication of the experiment from paper I, but the independent variable was changed from the level of the background noise to reverberation time. Paper III included two experiments where the stimulus material was 10 minutes lectures.Paper IV included two studies. The first experiment investigated whether serial recall performance is affected when words are presented in long reverberation time (Exp 1a). In experiment 1b word lists were presented in long or short reverberation time or with a background noise. The stimuli were recorded in one classroom with extremely good and one with very bad acoustic design. In experiment 2 word lists with many or few phonological neighbours were presented with long or short reverberation time. In all studies some measure of working memory capacity was included. Taken together, the overall results could be summarized in two sentences: Hearing what is said is a necessary but not a sufficient criterion for people to remember what is said, which means that spoken information should be heard without special effort, otherwise proper learning is jeopardized. No consistent relation was found between working memory capacity and the learning effect in the unfavorable listening conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2010. , 27 p.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Research subject
Engineering Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-18057Local ID: 69ad1ac0-4939-11df-a0f4-000ea68e967bISBN: 978-91-7439-099-5 (print)OAI: diva2:991063
Godkänd; 2010; 20100416 (roblju); DISPUTATION Ämnesområde: Teknisk psykologi/Engineering Psychology Opponent: Docent Mats E. Nilsson, Stockholms universitet Ordförande: Professor Håkan Alm, Luleå tekniska universitet Tid: Torsdag den 3 juni 2010, kl 14.00 Plats: F 436, Luleå tekniska universitetAvailable from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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