Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2024

Document Type

Thesis (699 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in School Psychology


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Rochelle Bergstrom


fidgeting, academic performance, peer distractibility


Schools have dealt with an abundance of behavioral issues in the classroom. These behaviors are often off-task and are commonly judged as distracting, negatively impacting the class’s academic performance. The perception of teachers and staff commonly determines the connection between these off-task behaviors and distractibility. However, there is limited direct research into the notion fidgeting causes others to be distracted. The limited research found students self-reported feeling distracted by external stimuli, but did not directly affect academic performance (Massonnié et al., 2022; Phillips et al., 2016). This study was designed to determine the direct impact of fidgeting on peers’ distractibility through fidgeting's effect on the environment. Multiple fidgeting behaviors were utilized to determine how various environmental impacts (auditory and visual) impacted participants during two academic tasks. However, the results showed mixed support for the predictions. There was no significant effect of fidgeting on observed distractibility or academic performance. However, the fidgeting behavior did show to impact self-ratings of distractibility, and there was some support for the prediction that more stimulating fidgeting behavior is perceived to be more distracting.



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