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Effect of noise on cognitive strategies in a sentence verification task

Hartley, L.R., Dunne, M., Schwartz, S. and Brown, J. (1986) Effect of noise on cognitive strategies in a sentence verification task. Ergonomics, 29 (4). pp. 607-617.

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Recent attempts to impose order on the contradictory literature concerning the effect of noise on memory have included explanations such as (i) noise improves memory for sequential order; (ii) noise encourages processing of stimuli at a more superficial level to (iii) noise encourages subjects to use their preferred processing strategy.

Subjects in the present study were required to verify the truth of sentences as picture descriptions in either quiet or moderately noisy conditions.

We expected subjects to use one of two different cognitive strategies in carrying out the task. The three explanations mentioned above generated different sets of predictions about how noise affected the strategies' use. Results showed noise benefited the verbal and hindered the spatial strategy; an outcome consistent with noise reinforcing memory for verbal order. Implications of the findings for comprehension of written instructions and training of personnel on tasks are discussed.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: 1986 Taylor & Francis
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