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Dec 03, 2016 04:12 AM EST

To Be More Productive, Escape Office Distraction and Head To A Noisy Café, New Study Suggests


A new study suggests that idle chit-chat is not as distracting compared to working in a busy office environment.

According to Japanese researchers, there is nothing more distracting than overhearing office conversations and meaningful noises. They claim that you are likely going to be more productive if you listen to idle chat or meaningless noises.

Dr. Takahiro Tamesue, of the Yamaguchi University in Japan, said: "Surrounding conversations often disturb the business operations conducted in such open offices. Because it is difficult to soundproof an open office, a way to mask meaningful speech with some other sound would be of great benefit for achieving a comfortable sound environment."

In an experiment they conducted, they discovered that certain noises including music and meaningful conversations increase a person's level of annoyance and decreases concentration and performance on the tasks at hand.

"The experiments suggest that when designing sound environments in spaces used for cognitive tasks -- such as the workplace or schools -- it is appropriate to consider not only the sound level, but also meaningfulness of the noise that is likely to be present," added Dr. Tamesue.

A study by the University of Sussex also had similar findings which revealed that talking on a hands-free phone is just as distracting as talking on a hand-held mobile because your attention from the road is being taken away by the conversation regardless if you are holding the phone or not.

Dr. Graham Hole, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, said: "Our findings have implications for real-life mobile phone conversations."

"The person at the other end of the phone might ask "where did you leave the blue file?", causing the driver to mentally search a remembered room. The driver may also simply imagine the facial expression of the person they're talking to."

"Conversations are more visual than we might expect, leading drivers to ignore parts of the outside world in favour of their inner 'visual world.'"

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