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Stress Recovery during Exposure to Nature Sound and Environmental Noise
Stockholms universitet, Psykologiska institutionen.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2059-0514
Stockholms universitet, Psykologiska institutionen.
Stockholms universitet, Psykologiska institutionen.
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 7, no 3, 1036-1046 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Research suggests that visual impressions of natural compared with urban environments facilitate recovery after psychological stress. To test whether auditory stimulation has similar effects, 40 subjects were exposed to sounds from nature or noisy environments after a stressful mental arithmetic task. Skin conductance level (SCL) was used to index sympathetic activation, and high frequency heart rate variability (HF HRV) was used to index parasympathetic activation. Although HF HRV showed no effects, SCL recovery tended to be faster during natural sound than noisy environments. These results suggest that nature sounds facilitate recovery from sympathetic activation after a psychological stressor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel, Schweiz: MDPI Publishing , 2010. Vol. 7, no 3, 1036-1046 p.
Keyword [en]
soundscape, nature sounds, environmental noise, skin conductance level, heart rate variability, stress recovery
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29575DOI: 10.3390/ijerph7031036OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-29575DiVA: diva2:907054
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Note

This research was conducted in the research project Sustaining Acoustic Pleasantness within Rural and Community Development (SARCADE), funded by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS.

Available from: 2010-11-30 Created: 2016-02-22 Last updated: 2016-09-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Perspectives on wanted and unwanted sounds in outdoor environments: Studies of masking, stress recovery, and speech intelligibility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perspectives on wanted and unwanted sounds in outdoor environments: Studies of masking, stress recovery, and speech intelligibility
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An acoustic environment contains sounds from various sound sources, some generally perceived as wanted, others as unwanted. This thesis examines the effects of wanted and unwanted sounds in acoustic environments, with regard to masking, stress recovery, and speech intelligibility.

In urban settings, masking of unwanted sounds by sounds from water structures has been suggested as a way to improve the acoustic environment. However, Study I showed that the unwanted (road traffic) sound was better at masking the wanted (water) sound than vice versa, thus indicating that masking of unwanted sounds with sounds from water structures may prove difficult. Also, predictions by a partial loudness model of the auditory periphery overestimated the effect of masking, indicating that centrally located informational masking processes contribute to the effect. Some environments have also been shown to impair stress recovery; however studies using only auditory stimuli is lacking. Study II showed that a wanted (nature) sound improve stress recovery compared to unwanted (road traffic, ambient) sounds. This suggests that the acoustic environment influences stress recovery and that wanted sounds may facilitate stress recovery compared to unwanted sounds. An additional effect of unwanted sounds is impeded speech communication, commonly measured with speech intelligibility models. Study III showed that speech intelligibility starts to be negatively affected when the unwanted (aircraft sound) masker have equal or higher sound pressure level as the speech sound. Three models of speech intelligibility (speech intelligibility index, partial loudness and signal–to–noise ratio) predicted this effect well, with a slight disadvantage for the signal–to–noise ratio model. Together, Study I and III suggests that the partial loudness model is useful for determining effects of wanted and unwanted sounds in outdoor acoustic environments where variations in sound pressure level are large. But, in environments with large variations in other sound characteristics, models containing predictions of central processes would likely produce better results.

The thesis concludes that wanted and unwanted characteristics of sounds in acoustic environments affect masking, stress recovery, and speech intelligibility, and that auditory perception models can predict these effects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2013. 55 p.
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29573 (URN)978-91-7447-807-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-18, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished and has a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript

Available from: 2016-02-26 Created: 2016-02-22 Last updated: 2016-09-19Bibliographically approved

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