PsychNology Journal, Volume 5, Number 2, 207 – 222

Searching for Information on PDA in a Naturalistic Environment with or without Music

Andrea Zucchi
HTLab, Dept. of General Psychology University of Padua, Italy

Luciano Gamberini
HTLab, Dept. of General Psychology University of Padua, Italy

 

ABSTRACT

The present paper investigates the effects of different kinds of music on information searching in a crowded cafeteria. Our experiment employs four texts that differ in length only, not in content or syntactic complexity. Each text is loaded on a web page and displayed on a PDA. We ask to participants 20 questions about each text and then compare their accuracy and performance time. Participants carry out their task in three different background conditions: normal environmental noise, earphones with classical symphonic music or earphones with modern Italian songs. We assume that classical symphonic music improves information searching by isolating the participant from the noise and background chitchatting of the cafeteria, while modern Italian music compromises performance, because processing the lyrics interferes with the task. In line with our expectations, classical music significantly improves information searching, but contrary to our hypotheses, Italian music improves performance, although not in a significant way. We conclude that in a situation with background noise, listening to classical music increases the speed of information searching with respect to a condition without music.

 

KEYWORDS

PDA, Searching for information, Background music, Noise, Irrelevant speech, Information processing, Arousal.

CITE AS

Zucchi, A., & Gamberini, L. (2007). Searching for Information on PDA in a Naturalistic Environment with or without Music. PsychNology Journal, 5(2), 207 - 222. Retrieved [month] [day], [year], from www.psychnology.org.

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