Traffic Noise at Moderate Levels Affects Cognitive Performance: Do Distance-Induced Temporal Changes Matter?
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2023

Urbanization leads to an increased demand for urban housing, which can be met by building dwellings closer to streets. Regulations often limit equivalent sound pressure levels which do not account for changes in time structure that occur when decreasing the road distance. This study investigates the effect of such temporal changes on subjective workload and cognitive performance. A group of 42 participants performed a continuous performance test as well as a NASA-TLX workload test under three different sound conditions, i.e., close traffic, far traffic, both with the same equivalent sound pressure level of LAeq ≈ 40 dB, and silence. Additionally, participants answered a questionnaire regarding their preferred acoustic environment for concentrated working. Significant effects of the sound condition on the multivariate workload results as well as on the number of commission errors in the continuous performance test were found. Post hoc tests showed no significant differences between the two noise conditions, but there were significant differences between noise and silence. This indicates that moderate traffic noise levels can influence cognitive performance and perceived workload. If there is a difference in the human response to road traffic noise with constant LAeq but different time structures, the used methods are not suitable to detect them.

perceived workload

traffic noise

sustained attention

cognitive performance

continuous performance test


inhibitory control

noise preference


Leon Müller

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Teknisk akustik

Jens Forssén

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Teknisk akustik

Wolfgang Kropp

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Teknisk akustik

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

1661-7827 (ISSN) 1660-4601 (eISSN)

Vol. 20 5 3798

Ett virtuellt akustiskt urbant rum för att säkerställa hälsa och säkerhet

Formas (FR-2020/0008), 2021-01-01 -- 2023-12-31.


Annan samhällsbyggnadsteknik

Strömningsmekanik och akustik

Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin



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Binaural Stimuli and Results [dataset]


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