Highlights - August 2015

Comments Off on Highlights - August 2015
Highlights - August 2015 LoadingADD TO FAVORITES

An increasing number of modern open-plan offices use sound-masking systems that raise the background sound of a room so that speech is rendered unintelligible beyond a certain distance and distractions are less annoying.

Sound-masking systems are custom-designed for each office space by consultants, and are typically installed as speaker arrays discreetly tucked away in the ceiling. For the past 40 years, the standard masking signal employed is random, steady-state electronic noise — also known as "white noise."

However, according to new research presented recently at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, playing natural sounds such as flowing water in offices could boost worker moods and improve cognitive abilities in addition to providing speech privacy.

The researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are currently testing whether masking signals inspired by natural sounds might work just as well, or better, than the conventional signal.

The idea was inspired by previous work that showed that people's ability to regain focus improved when they were exposed to natural sounds versus silence or machine-based sounds.

The natural sound used in the experiment was designed to mimic the sound of flowing water in a mountain stream. The mountain stream sound possessed enough randomness that it did not become a distraction, which appears to be a key attribute of a successful masking signal.

References

Chicago Tribune, May 21, 2015, "Sound of a Babbling Brook Could Make You More Productive at Work." © 2015 Chicago Tribune. All rights reserved.

To view this article, please visit:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-hlth-0527-strip-masking-work-sounds-20150521-story.html

As every manager knows, the competition for customers in the service sector is fierce, and new customers are entering the market all the time. So when a company such as Time Warner, Travelocity, or AT&T loses a customer, they ask, "Is it worth it to try to win that customer back?" According to a new study published in the Journal of Marketing the answer is definitely, "Yes."

As the researchers at Georgia State University put it, "Our results show that lost customers, if won...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Business Briefings subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $135/year

  • Get 12 months of Business Briefings that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Business Briefings Research Library
  • Optional Business Briefings monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% pro-rata refund