This experiment hypothesised that the non-distracted group will score higher on the comprehension test than the distracted group. The results supported that hypothesis since the mean score for the no distraction condition (21.25) is clearly higher than for the distraction condition (17.5). This finding is consistent with Fendrick’s study (1937) and can be explained as follows.
Participants under the distracted condition were less concentrated because of the auditory distraction whereas the quiet environment helped the concentration of the participants under the no distraction condition.However, the results concerning the amount of text read is not compliant with Fendrick’s experiment. Fendrick found that the distracted participants read a greater amount of text than the non-distracted one. The results of the present experiment show that, contrarily, the non-distracted group read more amount of text than the distracted one (95.86% ? 87.88%).
A possible explanation for this finding is that once again, auditory distraction deterred the concentration of the reader who had to read slower or re-read certain passages that are difficult to grasp. Fendrick’s report mentions that the critical ratio of the difference was only 8.9 so it is understandable that a repetition of his experiment gives a difference in the opposite way.
By accounting for the factor of the participants usually listen to music or not, this experiment’s results are also grounds for other interesting observations that Fendrick’s could not make. From graph (3), we can see that, for the distraction condition, there is a large difference in the scores between those who usually study with music (19.75) and those who don’t (15.25). This can be explained by deducing that the participants who are not used to music distraction are more greatly affected by this auditory distraction than those who usually study with the radio on. Moreover, the participants who usually study with music had similar scores whether under the distraction or no distraction condition (20 ?19.75).
This shows once again that music distraction had little effect on the reading efficiency of participants accustomed to music distraction while studying. On the other hand, there is a large difference between the two conditions for those who do not usually study with music (22.5 5.25).One major weakness of this experiment is that it does not account for the intelligence of the participants. Because it is time consuming, a matched subject design could not be used like in Fendrick’s experiment to balance the intelligence level of the participants. The personal level of intelligence of each participant has a lot to do with his or her ability to read and accurately comprehend the text.
It is possible that more participants with a higher level of intelligence were assigned to either of the experimental group, so this could represent and important extraneous variable.Another concern is the issue of demand characteristics, most participants probably guessed the purpose of this experiment because of its simple procedure so they may tend to behave in an unnatural way, biasing the results. This experiment has found that music distraction interferes with reading comprehension and efficiency. The music used as distractor was instrumental soundtrack music (see References). Yet, would there be a difference if the music used was classical, pop, or soft rock? Further research could explore the effects of different music information on reading efficiency.ReferencesFendrick, P. (1937). The Influence of Music Distraction upon Reading Efficiency.
Journal of Educational Research, vol.3, pp.264-271.
Jackson, Sherri L. Griggs, Richard, A. Hempel, Nancy.
(2001). Invitation to Psychology: Study Guide. Toronto, Prentice Hall, pp. 185-186.
Wade,C. Tavris, C. Poole, G. (2001). Invitation to Psychology. Toronto, Prentice Hall, pp.356-362.MusicShore, Howard.
Evenstar, The White Rider, Isengard Unleashed, Gollum’s Song. The Lords of the Rings: the Two Towers, Warner Brothers Appendices Appendix I Consent Form for Reading Efficiency Experiment My name is Hau Nguyen. I am an International Baccalaureate Science student performing a research for partial credit in an Experimental Psychology course at Vanier College.You are being asked to participate in a psychological experiment investigating reading efficiency.
You will be asked to read a text about personality disorders and be given a short test on it afterwards. The entire experiment will take approximately 10 minutes. All personal data will be kept confidential, as your name will be coded. You may withdraw from the experiment at any time. Following the experiment, the results will be communicated to you by the end of December.