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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 27  |  Page : 11--26

Strength of noise effects on memory as a function of noise source and age

1 Kungl Tekniska Hogskolan - Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
2 University of Gävle, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
E Boman
Centre for Built Environment, Laboratory of Applied Psychology, University of Gävle, SE- 801 76 Gävle
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.31636

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The objectives in this paper were to analyze noise effects on episodic and semantic memory performance in different age groups, and to see whether age interacted with noise in their effects on memory. Data were taken from three separate previous experiments, that were performed with the same design, procedure and dependent measures with participants from four age groups (13-14, 18-20, 35-45 and 55-65 years). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) meaningful irrelevant speech, (b) road traffic noise, and (c) quiet. The results showed effects of both noise sources on a majority of the dependent measures, both when taken alone and aggregated according to the nature of the material to be memorized. However, the noise effects for episodic memory tasks were stronger than for semantic memory tasks. Further, in the reading comprehension task, cued recall and recognition were more impaired by meaningful irrelevant speech than by road traffic noise. Contrary to predictions, there was no interaction between noise and age group, indicating that the obtained noise effects were not related to the capacity to perform the task. The results from the three experiments taken together throw more light on the relative effects of road traffic noise and meaningful irrelevant speech on memory performance in different age groups.


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