Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Effects of Exposure to Rural Soundscape on Psychological Restoration

    Lee, PJ, Park, SH, Jung, T and Swenson, A (2018) Effects of Exposure to Rural Soundscape on Psychological Restoration. In: European Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering, 27 May 2018 - 31 May 2018, Crete, Greece.

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    This study aims to explore and inform the connections between rural soundscape and psychophysiological well-being. Sound recordings were conducted in the urban street as well as rural areas in the Lake District National Park in the UK. Visual images were also captured using a portable 360-degree camera. Laboratory experiments were carried out in a virtual reality (VR) environment as a case study. The experiments consisted of two sessions: 1) a visual only condition and 2) a combined audio-visual condition. For comparison with a VR environment, additional experiments were performed in a non-VR environment where still images were presented on a computer monitor screen. The subjects first watched a stressful video clip and then were exposed to one urban and two rural settings. The subjects rated their perceived tranquillity, acoustic comfort, and psychological restoration at the end of each session. During the laboratory experiments, physiological responses (heart rate: HR, electrodermal activity: EDA, and respiratory rate: RR) were measured throughout the experiment. From the results, psychophysiological responses to rural soundscapes were compared with those to urban settings. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the VR environment was discussed by comparing with the non-VR environment.

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