Effects of background noise and extraversion on reading comprehension performance
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionErgonomics, 2021, 64:5, 593-599 10.1080/00140139.2020.1854352
This study was concerned with the effects of acoustic distraction at work. Using a within-subject study we aimed to investigate the effect of background distraction on cognitive performance. In the presence of silence, white noise, and sirens, 55 fluent English speakers completed three equivalent variations of a reading comprehension task. As predicted, there was a significant main effect of background sound, with poorer performance in the presence of distraction (particularly sirens), but no interaction was found between distraction and extraversion. Thus, the findings partially replicated previous research in terms of distraction but were inconsistent with regard to the Eysenckian theory of arousal differences between introverts and extraverts. Implications of the effect of sirens on those they are not designed to alert are considered. Limitations of this study are also considered.