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    The negative impact of noise on adolescents’ executive function: an online study in the context of home-learning during a pandemic

    Chere, Brittney and Kirkham, Natasha (2021) The negative impact of noise on adolescents’ executive function: an online study in the context of home-learning during a pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology , ISSN 1664-1078.

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    UNICEF estimates that 1.6 billion children across the world have had their education impacted by COVID-19 and have attempted to continue their learning at home. With ample evidence showing a negative impact of noise on academic achievement within schools, the current pre-registered study set out to determine what aspects of the home environment might be affecting these students. Adolescents aged 11-18 took part online, with 129 adolescents included after passing a headphone screening task. They filled out a sociodemographic questionnaire, followed by a home environment and noise questionnaire. Participants then completed three executive function tasks (the Flanker, the Backward Digit Span, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test) while listening to a soundtrack of either white noise or home-like environmental noise. For purposes of analysis, based on the noise questionnaire, participants were separated into quieter and noisier homes. Results revealed that measures of the home environment significantly correlated with individual perceptions of noise and task performance. In particular, adolescents coming from noisier homes were more likely to report that they studied in a noisy room and that they were annoyed by noise when studying. In terms of noise and task performance, the Flanker task revealed that while older adolescents were more efficient overall than their younger peers, those older adolescents from noisier homes seemed to lose this advantage. Reaction times for younger adolescents from noisier homes were less impacted by accuracy compared to their peers from quieter homes, though there was no difference for the older adolescents. This evidence suggests that higher in-home noise levels lead to higher rates of annoyance and may be hindering home-learning, with both younger and older adolescents being impacted. Furthermore, the long-term effect of in-home noise on adolescent executive function task performance indicates that these findings transcend the pandemic and would influence in-school learning. Limitations and advantages of online adolescent research without researcher supervision are discussed, including sociodemographics and adapting tasks.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Noise, home environment, adolescent learning, COVID-19, executive function, online research
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Natasha Kirkham
    Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2021 12:45
    Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 07:44


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