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A study on listening preferences of college students

Received 2017 Feb 24; Accepted 2017 Sep 25. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice.

No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Abstract This study was intended to determine whether the effects of noise on English listening comprehension would vary among Chinese college students with different learning styles. The results showed that the participants in general had significantly poorer performance in the two babble conditions than in quiet and white noise.

However, the participants with assimilative and divergent learning styles performed relatively better in Chinese babble, and exhibited stable performance across the three noisy conditions, while the participants with convergent and accommodative learning styles had more impaired performance in both Chinese babble and English babble than in white noise.

These findings suggest that differences in learning style might lead to differential performance in foreign language listening comprehension in noise.

Speech communication is often accompanied by both energetic and informational masking IM produced by noise. Energetic masking EM arises out of the competition between target and masker at the auditory periphery, i. IM refers to the potentially distracting effect of the masker that can cause interference with decisions at higher levels of processing, thus resulting in an inability to detect target signals embedded in other sounds at the central auditory system even when the signals are clearly audible Garcia Lecumberri et al.

Speech communication in noisy background is especially challenging for second language L2 listeners. Their listening experience outside the classroom is always problematic: Earlier studies have paid considerable attention to L2 listening in noise and examined a range of factors that can cause individual differences in listening performance as reviewed in the following section.

The present study specially focused on the role of learning styles in English listening comprehension in different types of noise among Chinese college students. The study may provide unique insights into the sources of individual differences exhibited in L2 listening comprehension in adverse conditions. L2 Speech Perception in Noise L2 listeners often have more difficulties in perceiving and understanding speech in the presence of noise than native listeners.

The results indicated that non-native performance fell short of that of native listeners in quiet, and the differences became larger in noisy conditions.

  • Measures of SPL and spectrum were then obtained for the broad band noise;
  • The study of Garcia Lecumberri et al;
  • In a study of undergraduate college students at the University of Texas at Austin, researchers found strong links between music preferences and personality, self-views, and cognitive ability;
  • Basically, someone may choose certain music to alter or maintain how others view them;
  • Native and non-native listeners had differential performance in different noise types and signal-to-noise ratios SNRs;
  • One thing that became apparent to me in this process is that attempting to categorize music preferences into neat boxes is a lofty goal, and it is likely a major challenge to study this phenomenon when people are known to prefer numerous types of music.

Similarly, Cutler et al. Native and non-native listeners had differential performance in different noise types and signal-to-noise ratios SNRs.

It has been shown that the performance of L2 listeners decreased with SNR and became more impaired in white noise that has equal energy for all frequencies, than a study on listening preferences of college students noise in which the energy level decreases while frequency increases, or aircraft noise Shimizu et al.

Even for multi-speaker babble, large differences were observed as different numbers of competing speakers affected speech perception Simpson and Cooke, 2005. Moreover, for the consonants for which differences in perceptual performance between L1 and L2 listeners were observed, the effects of noise types were not always the same, and no single type of noise could affect L1 and L2 listeners differently for all of these consonants.

In particular, listeners had better performance when the speech masker was in a different language from the target speech. Actually, the different effects observed between the linguistic maskers could be the results of the spectral differences between the masker conditions Calandruccio et al. Furthermore, the difference in performance between L1 and L2 listeners was larger when the target sounds and the noise were from the same gender speakers than when from different gender speakers Cooke et al.

One of them is L1 interference. The study of Garcia Lecumberri et al. There was a general tendency for listener groups from languages closer to English to perform better than those from more distant languages.

However, it has been revealed that even learners with the same L1 have also been shown to perform differently in their L2 speech perception if they have different amounts of L1 use. Speech perception may become more native-like as a function of L2 experience.

Differences in the degree, type, quality, and time of exposure to a language often give rise to differences in familiarity with linguistic patterning at all levels, from acoustic to pragmatic Garcia Lecumberri and Cooke, 2006. Limited linguistic experience could result in a deterioration of non-native speech perception under adverse listening conditions, and increasing experience often had a tight link with a reduced masking effect of noise Mayo et al.

For Chinese English learners, Mi et al. To sum up, with regard to the effects of noise on L2 speech processing, previous research has focused mainly on the differences between L1 and L2 listeners in different types of noise at different SNRs, and has identified some factors that can cause variance among L2 listeners, such as L1 background, L2 experience, and amount of L1 use. Another feature of previous research is the insufficient attention paid to the roles of cognitive factors that may lead to individual differences in L2 listening in adverse conditions.

In particular, the capacities for sustained attention Thompson et al. However, too little is known at present to ascertain the effects of cognitive factors in L2 listening in noise.

Grasping experience pertains to the process of taking in information, and transforming experience is how individuals interpret and act on that information Passarelli and Kolb, 2012. For grasping an experience, learners usually employ one of the two dialectically related modes: These four modes occur in a recursive process, resulting in an ideal four-stage learning cycle.

  • My guess is that many people who regularly listen to music could come up with at least 4 or 5 different reasons for why they prefer the music they do;
  • In addition, there are noticeable differences in grammar between the two languages, such as tense Lin, 2015 and word order e;
  • People can now listen to music on the internet to affirm the extent of how much they like a song, and can even find any version of a particular song that they prefer.

Specifically, CEs serve as the basis for observations and reflections, through which the experiences are subsequently assimilated and distilled into abstract concepts. Then new hypotheses for action are drawn and actively tested, thereby assisting the creation of new experiences.

Learners spiral through the learning cycle in accordance with their unique preferences for these dialectic learning modes. Every learner has a general tendency to learn either through CE or through AC when grasping an experience, as well as a tendency to learn either through AE or through RO when transforming an experience.

These preferences for certain learning modes are classified as four learning styles, i. Divergers are able to view specific situations from different perspectives and combine many relationships into a meaningful whole; assimilators are good at inductive reasoning, creating theoretical models, and assimilating disparate observations into an integrated explanation; convergers are skillful at decision making, problem solving, and the practical application of ideas; accommodators prefer doing things, carrying out plans and tasks, or getting involved in new experiences Kolb, 1984.

  • One thing that became apparent to me in this process is that attempting to categorize music preferences into neat boxes is a lofty goal, and it is likely a major challenge to study this phenomenon when people are known to prefer numerous types of music;
  • Speech perception may become more native-like as a function of L2 experience.

The Kolb Learning Style Inventory LSIdesigned in accordance with the ELT framework, is the most commonly used instrument for assessing learning styles in research and teaching Newton and Miah, 2017 and has been increasingly applied to L2 research. Some studies based on the LSI reported that students majoring in a foreign language preferred diverging learning style e. The LSI might also be a good predictor of L2 academic performance e. Furthermore, different learning styles have been found to have different links with certain specific learning tasks.

Among the Chinese college students examined in Yang et al. More important, some differential performance observed in learners with different learning styles can be attributed to certain cognitive processes An and Carr, 2017. Learners who are more reflective and less impulsive are more attentive, and more likely to self-regulate and inhibit distractions. In summary, as pointed out by Kolb and Kolb 2005the matching between learning contexts and learning styles results in enhanced L2 performance.

However, it remains unknown whether learning styles based on preferences for cognitive processes can contribute to L2 listening comprehension in adverse listening conditions, which was to be examined in the present study. The Current Study As postulated in ELT, the process of learning from experience is an essential part of human activity everywhere all the time Passarelli and Kolb, 2011implying that obtaining information through listening activities in noise is a typical example of experiential learning.

Learners a study on listening preferences of college students grasp speech signals through CEs of listening activities in noise CEand further analyze and interpret the information carried in these signals via reflection RO. Then the results of reflection are distilled to build abstract representations of the information ACwhich are actively tested and applied to new experiences AE of listening activities in noise.

Therefore, it is plausible to assume that when handling listening tasks in a noisy condition, learners with different learning styles should have special preferences for certain learning modes in their learning cycle, which may ultimately lead to differential listening results. In the present study, we hypothesized that the effects of different types of noise on English listening comprehension of Chinese college students should be closely related to their learning styles.

To examine this hypothesis, the LSI and a listening test on English conversation comprehension in different listening conditions were administered to Chinese college students who learned English as a foreign language EFL.

Music and the Brain: Exploring Musical Preferences

We chose to explore listening performance in noise among Chinese college students based on the following consideration. Although English learning in China is generally characterized as formal learning in the classroom, English communication in various environments has become increasingly necessary with the development of China. However, Chinese EFL students are always confronted with enormous difficulties in adverse conditions given that they cannot handle English listening by utilizing their experience with Mandarin Chinese, since the two languages have substantial differences in many aspects.

Generally, Mandarin Chinese is a typical ideographic language based on words, while English is an alphabetic language based on sounds Richards and Schmidt, 2002. Phonologically, Chinese is differentiated from English not only by vowels and consonants e. Moreover, unlike English, Chinese has lexical tones which can be used to distinguish word meanings Duanmu, 2007 ; Shi et al.

In addition, there are noticeable differences in grammar between the two languages, such as tense Lin, 2015 and word order e. As can be seen, when listening to English in adverse conditions, Chinese students should have new experiences different not only from those for listening tasks in the quiet classroom, but also from their Chinese listening experiences in everyday life.

Exploring these experiences among Chinese students in association with their learning styles is not only important to understand how different elements in noisy environments are able to cause detrimental effects on their listening performance, but also meaningful to reveal the contribution of learning styles to listening performance in various conditions.

Therefore, the current study was designed to answer the following two questions: Four types of listening conditions were set up for the English listening comprehension test, i.

White noise is quasi-stationary and is often assumed to cause EM e. Since different amounts of EM and IM effects were involved in the four listening conditions, the cognitive tasks the students had to handle were different in difficulty. Given that certain learning styles do correlate more highly than others with desired aspects of language tasks in specific settings, we expected that the listening performance of the students in the four listening conditions should be affected differently by their learning styles.

More specifically, since listening in quiet was able to manifest the competence for speech understanding in an ideal condition that did not pose difficult challenges to all listeners, students with different styles should have similar performance.

As EM can cause a loss of signal components Garcia Lecumberri et al. However, in English babble and Chinese babble involving IM, students with different learning a study on listening preferences of college students should have differential performance because they might deal with the interference from the masking in different ways.

According to ELT, every learner employs each learning mode to a certain degree when spiraling through the learning cycle. If a certain type of learning style has been found to correlate tightly with English listening comprehension in a specific noisy condition, then one or two learning mode s associated with the style should contribute to this correlation.

They were majors of science or engineering and learned English as a foreign language. They had similar basic competence in English listening comprehension, since there were no differences in their listening comprehension in quiet as shown in the next section. All the participants reported no history of speech or hearing disability.

The inventory in the present study was based on a Chinese version provided by Hay Group in order to minimize the impact of variation in English proficiency among the participants. It included 12 short statements about different learning situations, and the participants responded by ranking four sentence endings corresponding to the four learning modes, i.

The score for each mode was obtained by adding up the forced ratings of the 12 statements, based on which the combination scores of AC-CE and A study on listening preferences of college students were calculated. An exploratory factor analysis was performed to verify its construct validity. As in earlier studies e.