Several noise criteria methods commonly used in architectural acoustics have been quantitatively related to noise perception and task performance under a variety of ventilation systems-induced background noise conditions. Noise criteria, balanced noise criteria, room criteria, room criteria mark II, and A-weighted equivalent sound pressure level were examined. The first phase of the project included noise conditions controlled to be non-time-varying and nontonal, with neutral, rumbly, roaring, or hissy characteristics. An intermediate study examined exposure time length and types of performance tasks used. The final phase included noise conditions containing various levels of discrete tones from 120 to 595 Hz. Under each noise, subjects completed performance tasks and perception questionnaires. Results indicate task performance was significantly affected by perception of noise, but this relationship was not fully demonstrated by the criteria systems analyzed. The five criteria were generally well suited in describing subjective loudness perception, but some discrepancies in criteria spectral quality ratings and subjective perception existed. Finally, perception of annoyance changed based on the frequency and prominence of tones in noise, but these changes were not reflected in the criteria level or spectral quality ratings. Modifications to the existing criteria are recommended.