February 20, 1954

The Effects of Noise on Human Behavior

JAMA. 1954;154(8):724. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940420086029

This report deals with the effects of high intensity noise on human behavior. This is a timely and important topic because of the increasing general concern about noise as an undesirable feature of modern civilization. Extreme claims about "reduction in efficiency" of workers and the production of "nervous breakdowns," etc., by noise are familiar to all. Actual experiments on the effects of noise on human behavior have been few and the results have been quite inconclusive.

The present studies undertook, first, to determine the effects of high intensity noise on human performance as measured by standard mental tests and learning tasks and, second, to investigate certain physiological and psychological characteristics with respect to individual differences in noise susceptibility. The experiments seem technically well controlled and the battery of tests well selected for the purposes as stated. The results are quite clean cut in that they show no marked effect from

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