Having a conversation which requires the driver to use their visual imagination creates competition for the brain’s processing capacity. A study revealed that sounds such as music and the meaningful conversation had a stronger effect on levels of a personal annoyance than meaningless noises and led to a greater decline in performance on tasks. The experiments suggest that when designing sound environments in spaces used for cognitive functions – such as the workplace or schools – it is appropriate to consider not only the noise level but also meaningfulness of the noise that is likely to be present, added Dr. Tamesue.
- Working from a noisy cafe may be more productive than working in a busy office because idle chit-chat is not as distracting as the conversation of colleagues, a new study suggests.
- Japanese researchers asked volunteers to carry out a computer-based task while playing conversations or meaningless noises in the background and monitored their success.
- The found that productive work-related discussions are likely to be far more diverting than random, meaningless noises or overheard sounds of conversation between strangers.
“Their brains were also monitored to work out whether they were attempting to process the noises or if they were ignoring the audio.”