Physiological measures regress onto acoustic and perceptual features of soundscapes
Date of Issue2013
International Conference on Music & Emotion (3rd : 2013 : Jyvaskyla, Finland)
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
There is no exact model for the relationship between the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and evoked or perceived emotion. Music has long been a privileged field for exploration, while the contribution of soundscape research is more recent. It is known that health is influenced by the sonic environment, and the study here presented aimed to investigate the nature and strength of relationships between soundscape features and physiological responses linked to relaxation or stress. In a controlled experiment, seventeen healthy volun-teers moved freely inside a physical installation listening to soundscape recordings of nature, urban parks, eateries, and shops, reproduced using 3D ambisonic techniques. Physiological responses were continuously captured, then detrended, downsampled, and analysed with multivariate linear regression onto orthogonal acoustic and perceptual stimuli features that had been previously determined. Measures of Peripheral Temper-ature regressed onto SoundMass, an acoustic feature, and onto Calm-to-Chaotic, a perceptual feature, in each case with a moderately sized effect. A smaller effect was found for Heart Rate onto VariabilityFocus, an acous-tic feature, and for Skin Conductance onto the interaction between the acoustic features. These relationships could be coherently accounted for by neurophysiological theory of how ANS activation leads to emotional relaxation or stress. We discuss limitations of the present study and considerations for future soundscape emotion research, as well as more immediate practical implications.
© 2013 Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Music & Emotion (ICME3).