Does anyone have any links to studies that show how noise affects the productivity of programmers? Specifically I would like to see how/if productivity rises when noise levels decrease.
As pointed in comments, the nature of the programming workflow is such that you go in and out of focus all the time -- so it's likely to be affected by noise differently than other lines of work.
The reason I think that this is programmer specific is that I am also interested in mathematics. In a noisy place, if I start thinking about maths, the noise goes away and I find myself lost in a world of pictures. In fact my favourite place to do maths was always The Copper Kettle cafe, a busy tourist place.
For programming it's completely different. While programming I'm usually thinking verbally, and any talking whatsoever destroys my train of thought. I'm literally incapable of programming anywhere where there is audible conversation.
I've talked to other programmers who don't even notice noise that disables me, and they say that they think mainly in pictures. Which is why I'm wondering whether there are any actual academic studies into whether programming is particularly noise-affected compared to say maths or lawyering.