Optimize Learning Outcomes

Background Noise and Learning (07-25-16)

Background noise influences toddlers’ ability to learn.  McMillan and Saffran studied two sets of toddlers (22-24 months old and 28-30 months old) who were being taught new words in a space where other people could be heard speaking. Both the older and younger children “successfully learned novel label–object pairings when target speech was 10 dB louder than background speech but not when the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was 5 dB [meaning when the teacher’s voice was only 5 decibels louder than background speech].

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