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Title: Sounds of nature : what influences judgments of nature-based and non-nature-sounds?
Author: Barton, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 3526
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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Objectives: This study aims to replicate previous findings that nature-sounds are preferred over non-nature-sounds. It also aims to explore possible links between any feelings or thoughts that sounds evoke in individuals and how they then rate those sounds, and how these might link to current theories of stress reduction and attention restoration. Method: Using a questionnaire design, 104 participants listened to three nature-based and three non-nature-sounds. They were then asked to rate the sounds and invited to describe thoughts and feelings that came to mind whilst listening to the sounds. These written responses were then examined and coded resulting in nine variables being created, such as mentioning a memory, writing in the first person, mentioning nature and positivity of written comment. Mean sound ratings were then compared between responses that did and did not match the variables. Results: Nature-sounds received higher sound ratings than non-nature-sounds and they generated more positive comments. The presence of the above variables also resulted in higher sound ratings overall for the nature-sounds than the non-nature sounds, with the use of positive emotive words, mentioning a memory and mentioning nature having the biggest effects. Conclusion: The results suggest some support for both stress reduction and attention restoration, as well as highlighting a possible role for positive affect and memories that seems to be linked more with nature than non-nature-sounds. This may support the use of nature and nature-sounds in individualised therapeutic interventions that may generate positive emotions, process negative ones, broaden mindsets and, facilitate stress reduction and attention restoration.
Supervisor: Draycott, Simon ; Gatersleben, Birgitta Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral