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Effects of prior exposure to office noise and music on aspects of working memory

Smith, Andrew Paul ORCID:, Waters, Beth and Jones, Hywel 2010. Effects of prior exposure to office noise and music on aspects of working memory. Noise and Health 12 (49) , pp. 235-243. 10.4103/1463-1741.70502

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Previous research has suggested that prior exposure to noise reduces the effect of subsequent exposure due to habituation. Similarly, a number of studies have shown that exposure to Mozart's music leads to better subsequent spatial reasoning performance. Two studies were conducted to extend these findings. The first one examined whether habituation occurs to office noise (including speech) and, if so, how long it takes to develop. Thirty-six young adults participated in the first study which compared effects of office noise with quiet on the performance of a maths task. The study also examined the effects of prior exposure to the office noise on the subsequent effect of the noise. The results showed that performance was initially impaired by the office noise but that the effects of the noise were removed by 10 minutes of exposure between tasks. The second experiment attempted to replicate the "Mozart effect" which represents an improvement in spatial reasoning following listening to Mozart. The study also examined whether the Mozart effect could be explained by changes in mood. Twenty-four young adults participated in the study. The results replicated the Mozart effect and showed that it was not due to changes in mood. Overall, these results show that prior exposure to noise or music can influence aspects of working memory. Such effects need to be incorporated into models of effects of noise on cognition and attempts have to be made to eliminate alternative explanations rather than just describing changes that occur in specific contexts.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: Habituation ; Mozart effect ; Office noise ; Working memory
Publisher: MedKnow
ISSN: 1463-1741
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 08:35

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