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Title: Immersive soundscapes to elicit anxiety in exposure therapy : physical desensitization and mental catharsis
Author: Argo, Jessica
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 3429
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: Glasgow School of Art
Date of Award: 2017
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There is a wide range of sensory therapies using sound, music and visual stimuli. Some of these established therapies focus on soothing or distracting stimuli as an analgesic (such as natural sounds or classical music), while other approaches emphasize active performance methods of producing music as therapeutic. Instead, this thesis proposes immersive soundscape exposure therapy, inviting people suffering from anxiety disorders to react to densely detailed ambisonic composition. In this work, soundscapes are composed to include the users’ own idiosyncratic anxiety triggers to facilitate habituation, and to provoke psychological catharsis, as a non-verbal, visceral and enveloping exposure. In this research, the participants’ vital signs are recorded during exposure, to accurately pinpoint the most effective sounds that alter the participant’s resting state, which informs an optimal construction of future soundscapes. Across psychology and neuroscience literature, it is widely agreed that sound is a major trigger of anxiety, and auditory hypersensitivity is an extremely problematic symptom. In this project, it is hypothesized that these dense, anxiety-eliciting soundscapes will progress future immersive therapies for various psychological conditions. Results from this study indicate that exposure to stress-inducing sounds can free anxiety sufferers from entrenched avoidance behaviors, teaching physiological coping strategies whilst simultaneously encouraging resolution of the repressed psychological issues agitated by the sound.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available