Poster Title

The Effect of Stress on Reading Accuracy

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Secondary School

Institution

Project Lead The Way - Kentucky

KY House District #

58

KY Senate District #

20

Abstract

Previous work has shown that school children exposed to prolonged environmental noises (aircrafts, railways, traffic) have impaired cognitive functioning. The purpose of this experiment is to test the effect of noise, an acute stressor, on reading accuracy. Participants (n=15) wore headphones and held Vernier hand-grip heart-rate monitors in an upright position. Each subject had 25 seconds to read a novel paragraph, with repeated non-sense words. The paragraph was read once with the noise stressor and once without. The noise stressor consisted of a mixture of white noise, counting, and words from the reading. Statistical analysis showed that noise significantly increased heart rate [t(14)= 3.500, p<0.05], indicating that it did function as a stressor in this experiment. Results also showed that reading accuracy was significantly lower in the presence of the noise stressor [t(14)= -2.387, p<0.05]. This data suggests that the noise acted as a stressor on students, causing them to read less accurately than when they were not under auditory stress. The current findings can be extended to student learning and standardized testing settings. Students exposed to excessive talking or a series of distracting noises may experience an increase in heart rate that may affect how they perform academically.

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The Effect of Stress on Reading Accuracy

Previous work has shown that school children exposed to prolonged environmental noises (aircrafts, railways, traffic) have impaired cognitive functioning. The purpose of this experiment is to test the effect of noise, an acute stressor, on reading accuracy. Participants (n=15) wore headphones and held Vernier hand-grip heart-rate monitors in an upright position. Each subject had 25 seconds to read a novel paragraph, with repeated non-sense words. The paragraph was read once with the noise stressor and once without. The noise stressor consisted of a mixture of white noise, counting, and words from the reading. Statistical analysis showed that noise significantly increased heart rate [t(14)= 3.500, p<0.05], indicating that it did function as a stressor in this experiment. Results also showed that reading accuracy was significantly lower in the presence of the noise stressor [t(14)= -2.387, p<0.05]. This data suggests that the noise acted as a stressor on students, causing them to read less accurately than when they were not under auditory stress. The current findings can be extended to student learning and standardized testing settings. Students exposed to excessive talking or a series of distracting noises may experience an increase in heart rate that may affect how they perform academically.