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The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of digitally shortening and lengthening pauses on listening comprehension. Using digital audio software, pauses within the Brown, Carlsen, Carstens (BCC) Listening omprehension Test were modified to create a control group version (unaltered) and three experimental versions: pauses lengthened by 300 msec; pauses shortened by 150 msec; and, pauses shortened by 300 msec. Effects of these pause length treatments on listening comprehension were measured for each of the five individual BCC sections and for composite scores. Subjects were 144 college students enrolled in undergraduate psychology classes. Means of numbers of incorrect responses were used in analysis of variance and Kruskal-Wallis calculations. Results demonstrated statistical significance for two BCC test sections, Section C (Recognizing Transitions) and Section D (Recognizing Word Meanings). For Section C, lengthening pauses by 300 msec yielded a significant difference between mean numbers of incorrect responses at the .05 level. For Section D, the control group condition (with unaltered original pause lengths) yielded a significant difference between mean numbers of incorrect responses at the .10 level. For certain sections of the test, it was concluded that that presentation rate could be increased (via pause length shortening) without loss of comprehension—in other words, that listening efficiency could be increased. Designated as primary beneficiaries of the research were clients of the National Library Service (the producers of "Talking Books") and distance learners using audio-enhanced web-based materials. Recommended were further studies involving different pause lengths, subjects and stimulus materials, as well as the development of software that allows users to select from a variety of offered pause lengths.
A Dissertation Submitted to the School of Information Studies in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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