Listening to urban soundscapes: physiological validity of perceptual dimensions

Amy Irwin, Deborah Hall, Chris Plack, Andrew Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Predominantly, the impact of environmental noise is measured using sound level, ignoring the influence of other factors on subjective experience. The present study tested physiological responses to natural urban soundscapes, using functional magnetic resonance imaging and vector cardiogram. City-based recordings were matched in overall sound level (71 decibel A-weighted scale), but differed on ratings of pleasantness and vibrancy. Listening to soundscapes evoked significant activity in a number of auditory brain regions. Compared with soundscapes that evoked no (neutral) emotional response, those evoking a pleasant or unpleasant emotional response engaged an additional neural circuit including the right amygdala. Ratings of vibrancy had little effect overall, and brain responses were more sensitive to pleasantness than was heart rate. A novel finding is that urban soundscapes with similar loudness can have dramatically different effects on the brain's response to the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-268
Number of pages11
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume48
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jun 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

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Brain
Amygdala
Noise
Heart Rate
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Keywords

  • cognition
  • sensation/perception
  • normal volunteers
  • fMRA/PET/MRI
  • heart rate

Cite this

Listening to urban soundscapes : physiological validity of perceptual dimensions. / Irwin, Amy; Hall, Deborah; Plack, Chris; Peters, Andrew.

In: Psychophysiology, Vol. 48, No. 2, 02.2011, p. 258-268.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Irwin, Amy ; Hall, Deborah ; Plack, Chris ; Peters, Andrew. / Listening to urban soundscapes : physiological validity of perceptual dimensions. In: Psychophysiology. 2011 ; Vol. 48, No. 2. pp. 258-268.
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