Final Thesis

Short-term memory performance under varying signal-to-noise-ratio

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Bachelor Thesis of Zhou, Chong

Serial recall is a well-established method to evaluate short-term memory performance by evaluating the ability to recall items in the order in which they were presented. Irrelevant sound effect refers to the fact that during a memory task, serial recall is disturbed when the subject hears sound that is not relevant to the memory task. Currently, research on irrelevant sound effect has focused on its effect on visually presented items. Research has shown, that the fluctuation strength of background sound is correlated with the resulting decrease in serial recall performance (Schlittmeier & Weißgerber & Kerber & Fastl & Hellbrück, 2011). However, the influence of different signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) on short-term memory serial recall is hardly discussed. In this study however, it should be investigated, if the SNR also influences the performance in the same way, especially when comparing the recall of visually and auditory presented items. In the scope of this work, a listening experiment is performed, where the influence of different levels of background noise on short-term memory will be evaluated. During the experiment, two presentation modalities are compared: visually presented items as well as audio-items in terms of recordings of spoken digits.