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Describe what psychologists have found out about the adverse effects of the physical environment and temporal conditions at work.

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Introduction

Describe what psychologists have found out about the adverse effects of the physical environment and temporal conditions at work. Psychologists have done a lot of research into adverse effects of working conditions. It is an area of particular interest for employers as a lot of money is lost each year as a result of these effects. Noise can be a major cause of stress in the work place. Noise is define as any unwanted sound. Cohen et al (1980) carried out a natural experiment into the effects of noise in a school on a busy flight path in Los Angeles- he compared these findings to 3 other schools not directly on flights paths. He found using physiological and behavioural measures that the flight path children were most stressed and irritable, more lessons were cancelled and the concentration and motivation were affected. The source of the noise can also have an effect on the levels of stress that are caused. Nemececk (1973) did a survey on noise in the workplace. He found that 46% of workers said the most annoying source of noise was from conversation of others. 26% disliked the sound of office machinery, 19% disliked noise from telephones. Noise has also been correlated to worker dissatisfaction and accidents (Cohen 1981). Psychologists have done some research into lighting to try to find the best levels of lighting. Mayo et al conducted a natural experiment to try to suggest the best level of lighting for worker productivity. ...read more.

Middle

Also there is a lot of potential for bias if the subjects are aware they are being studied. There are also ethical problems regarding deception-because children were used and invasion of privacy. Baddely's field experiment showing divers in cold conditions has greater ecological validity than a laboratory experiment. There is also less bias from sampling and demand characteristics. There is however more bias likely from extraneous variables, due to greater difficulties of controlling all aspects of the experiment. It is harder to replicate, and more difficult to record data. Nemececk's correlation surveys gives a precise information on the degree of relationship between variables it is also available in the form of he correlation coefficient. It can readily quantify observational data. No manipulation of the behaviour in necessary. Strong significant correlations can suggest ideas for experimental studies to determine cause and effect, because no cause and effect can be inferred by simply looking at the correlations. The results must be plotted on a scatter gram to illustrate the true results. The questionnaires by Beers into shift work collected large amounts of standardised data relatively quickly and conveniently. They are highly replicable and easy to score - unless open ended answers. Generally questionnaires lack flexibility, are based on self report data and are biased by motivational levels. Baddely's experiments into temperature on divers shows the effects on temperature but does not account for individual differences. ...read more.

Conclusion

"While it's true that drinking lots of cups of coffee will keep you awake, it will also prevent you from going to sleep in the morning. The key to adjusting to night work is for people to take their time off work seriously; and make sure that they get enough sleep during the day so that they remain physically and mentally healthy," explains Alexander Wedderburn, a retired psychology professor. So, if you have to work night shifts how can you make sure that you stay awake, alert and stimulated? Don't eat big meals at night, this will only make you feel sleepy and sluggish. It's not a good idea to go out before a night shift; this will make you feel tired especially if you have had alcohol. Doing some form of exercise before your night shift will give you energy and keep you alert. Try to keep busy - saving demanding tasks for the early hours of the morning will ensure that you have to stay alert. Don't rely on stimulants to keep you awake if you're feeling sleepy. Go out for a walk and get some fresh air. Make sure that it isn't too quiet - put the radio on. A certain shift should also be kept for at least three months, this gives the body a chance to get used to the new hours. If shifts are changed to frequently it will disrupt sleep and lead to decreased productivity and fatigue. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachel Adlard, Psychology, Mrs Meek, 13SS ...read more.

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