Journal of Ecoacoustics

(ISSN: 2516-1466) Open Access Journal
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JEA 2018, 2(1), 1; doi: 10.22261/jea.ylfj6q

Emotional associations with soundscape reflect human-environment relationships

1 Department of Evolution, Behaviour and Environment, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QG, United Kingdom
2 Sussex Humanities Lab, School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QG, United Kingdom
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 Jul 2017 / Accepted: 8 Nov 2017 / Published: 10 Jan 2018
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In line with the development of socio-ecological perspectives in conservation science, there is increasing interest in the role of soundscape perception in understanding human-environment interactions; the impact of natural soundscapes on human wellbeing is also increasingly recognized. However, research to date has focused on preferences and attitudes to western, urban locations. This study investigated individual emotional associations with local soundscape for three social groups living in areas with distinct degrees of urbanization, from pristine forest and pre-urban landscapes in Ecuador, to urban environments in UK and USA. Participants described sounds that they associated with a range of emotions, both positive and negative, which were categorized according to an adapted version of Schafer’s sound classification scheme. Analyses included a description of the sound types occurring in each environment, an evaluation of the associations between sound types and emotions across social groups, and the elaboration of a soundscape perception map. Statistical analyses revealed that the distribution of sound types differed between groups, reflecting essential traits of each soundscape, and tracing the gradient of urbanization. However, some associations were universal: Natural Sounds were primarily associated with positive emotions, whereas Mechanical and Industrial Sounds were linked to negative emotions. Within non-urban environments, natural sounds were associated with a much wider range of emotions. Our analyses suggest that Natural Sounds could be considered as valuable natural resources that promotes human wellbeing. Special attention is required within these endangered forest locations, which should be classified as a “threatened soundscapes,” as well as “threatened ecosystems,” as we begin to understand the role of soundscape for the wellbeing of the local communities. The methodology presented in this article offers a fast, cheap tool for identifying reactions towards landscape modification and identifying sounds of social relevance. The potential contribution of soundscape perception within the current conservation approaches is discussed.
Keywords: attitudes; Conservation science; Ecuador; Natural resources; positive emotions; social groups; Soundscape Perception; Urban Environments
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
Moscoso, P.; Peck, M.; Eldridge, A. Emotional associations with soundscape reflect human-environment relationships. JEA 2018, 2, 1.
Moscoso P, Peck M, Eldridge A. Emotional associations with soundscape reflect human-environment relationships. Journal of Ecoacoustics. 2018; 2(1):1.
Moscoso, Paola; Peck, Mika; Eldridge, Alice. 2018. "Emotional associations with soundscape reflect human-environment relationships." JEA 2, no. 1: 1.
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