Four levels of environmental noise were experimentally manipulated during lunch and dinner in a residential living unit for 10 behaviorally disordered persons with mental retardation. During the highest noise conditions, there appeared to be some suppression of social interaction between these people, while interaction rates were uniformly higher during softer noise conditions. This effect was evident at both lunch and dinner. Staff members were less affected by the fluctuation in noise levels, although lunchtime staff engaged in more interactions with clients when both the radio and TV were played softly.
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