If you're a senior citizen, music in the background may be distracting.
But for younger people — experts at multitasking — it's apparently no big deal. That's according to a study in the journal Gerontologist. Researchers recruited 103 people — half between the ages of 18 and 30, the others between 60 and 75.
The volunteers then took part in memorization exercises and a drill where they had to quickly match a photo of a face with the same face in an array of unfamiliar faces. Some participants did the exercises in silence. Others performed the tasks while listening to white noise or instrumental jazz, blues, classical and electronic music.
Across age groups, the consensus was that the background sound was distracting - but only older people's performance suffered when the noise was present. For example, older folks who did the face-matching with music playing remembered 10 percent fewer faces. The result matches up with the theory that the elderly are less able to filter out what's called “distracting task-irrelevant information.”
In this case the distracting info might have interfered with them storing the facial image in the first place — much less impeding their ability to remember it a short while later.
对老年人而言，背景音乐可能会分散其注意力。但对于擅长一心多用的年轻人来说，这根本不是问题。这是根据《老年医学专家》杂志上的一项研究得出的结论。研究人员募集了 103 名志愿者 —— 其中半数年龄在 18 到 30 岁之间，另一半年龄在 60 到75 岁之间。
不同年龄段的人都一致认为背景声音会分散注意力，但是在有噪音的情况下，只有老年人的表现受到了影响。例如，在有音乐的环境中进行测试的老年人只记得不到 10% 的面孔。这个结果与研究理论相符，即老年人过滤“与任务无关的分心信息”的能力更弱。
这种情况下，令人分心的信息首先可能会对他们记忆面部图像产生干扰 —— 进一步阻碍他们在随后测试中的记忆能力。