In general, it is plausible to suppose that we should prefer peace and quiet to noise. Q27 And yet most of us have had the experience of having to adjust to sleeping in the mountains or the countryside because it was initially ‘too quiet’, an experience that suggests that humans are capable of adapting to a wide range of noise levels. Research supports this view. Q28&35 For example, Glass and Singer (1972) exposed people to short bursts of very loud noise and then measured their ability to work out problems and their physiological reactions to the noise. The noise was quite disruptive at first, but after about four minutes the subjects were doing just as well on their tasks as control subjects who were not exposed to noise. Their physiological arousal also declined quickly to the same levels as those of the control subjects.

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