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Effects of background noise on cognitive performance at work

Systematic exploration of objective methods to examine the effort during task processing

Project number: F 2439 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project Planned end: 2024-01-14


The aim of the research project is a systematic exploration of objective procedures to investigate effort during task processing. This will be done in the context of research on effects of noise on cognitive performance at the workplace. It will be reviewed in a systematic way which physiological and neurophysiological procedures (e.g. EEG) and what measures are most appropriate to capture the effort while working on a cognitive task in conditions with background sounds. One essential criterion is that the procedures to be established can be applied with moderate technical effort in a real work environment, so that measurements in typical work situations are possible.

By means of this exploration and the identification of the appropriate procedures, future studies on the effects of noise at the workplace should be possible that gather knowledge on the following questions:

  1. Is working on cognitive tasks in conditions with unwanted sounds associated with a higher amount of effort in comparison to a silent condition, and if so, to what extent?
  2. Does an increased effort, if present, even exist in cases when there are no significant adverse effects of the respective acoustic work environment on the actual cognitive task itself?


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