October 21, 2020

Psychological Well-being, Age and Gender can Mediate Soundscapes Pleasantness and Eventfulness: A large sample study

There is a great deal of literature on contributing environmental factors of soundscape, the perception of the acoustic environment by humans in context. Yet the impact of some contextual and person-related factors is largely unknown. From the questionnaire, adapted from ISO12913-2 and the WHO-5 well-being index, three questions arose: are there differences in Pleasantness and Eventfulness of soundscape among different acoustic environments; are high levels of psychological well-being associated with increased Pleasantness and Eventfulness ratings; and is soundscape Pleasantness and Eventfulness consistent among different age and gender groups? The sample comprised 1180 individual questionnaires, 621 females (52.6%), 532 males (45.1%), mean age 34.95 years, SD= 15.62, collected from eleven urban locations. Hierarchical clustering analysis was done on the mean of each sound source question for each survey location resulting in three clusters of locations based on sound source composition: Natural-dominant, Traffic-dominant and Mixed-sources. A Kruskal-Wallis was conducted to compare the mean Pleasantness and Eventfulness scores of the three clusters, demonstrating that the soundscape assessment was significantly different depending on sound source composition. Multiple linear regression models were used to analyse the relationship between psychological well-being, age, and gender with soundscape Pleasantness and Eventfulness. Our results indicated first that the positive psychological state was associated with Pleasantness in the all-locations and mixed-sources clusters, and with Eventfulness in the traffic-dominant cluster. Secondly, while age was linked to Pleasantness in all clusters it was merely associated with the Eventfulness in the all-locations cluster. Lastly, gender was associated with Pleasantness only in the all-locations cluster. These findings offer empirical grounds for developing theories of the contextual factors on soundscape.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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