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Speaker Abstracts

Chiara Visentin

Chiara Visentin

Professional title: Senior Researcher
Workplace: Eurac Research
Phone number: +39 3286966004


A student-centered approach to classroom acoustics: effects of individual differences on task performance in background noise

Primary school classrooms are full of sounds, generated for the most part by the children themselves (e.g., voices, movements). Even when the acoustic design of the classrooms complies with the normative requirements, the presence of these sounds decreases the children’s performance and increases their effort while completing an academic task, due to the need for exploiting additional cognitive resources. Differences in individual reactions are observed, however, that might be traced back to individual characteristics moderating the effect of the listening condition. What these characteristics are and how they interact with the classroom sound environment is still relatively unknown.

In a highly ecological setting, the effect of non-auditory, person-related factors (baseline literacy skills, executive functions, and noise sensitivity) was explored for primary school children performing listening tasks (maths, comprehension) in the presence of chatter noise. The results indicate a role for inhibitory control, working memory, and noise sensitivity in moderating the effects of the listening condition on children’s performance, and on their motivation as well.

Understanding the relationship between individual characteristics and classroom sound environment has practical implications for the acoustic design of spaces promoting students’ well-being, and supporting their learning performance.