What is it about?
This study combines all the available evidence about the types of sounds that are distracting to readers. It considered the impact of environmental noise, nearby speech and music on reading comprehension performance. It was found that all sounds lead to a small, but reliable reduction in text comprehension. Sounds that contain language (e.g., nearby speech or music) were found to be most distracting. Listening to music was found to be distracting only for lyrical songs. Instrumental songs did not appear to cause distraction.
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Why is it important?
There has been a large amount of research on auditory distraction during reading in the past several decades, but so far no attempt has been made to pool together all the available evidence. The present study gives insights into the types of sounds that may distract readers from their task and reduce their performance. This has important real-world implications for reading in educational and work settings (e.g., classrooms or open-plan offices) where distracting sounds may be present.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Auditory Distraction During Reading: A Bayesian Meta-Analysis of a Continuing Controversy, Perspectives on Psychological Science, June 2018, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1745691617747398.
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