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The effects of expectation on the perception of soundscapes

Bruce, NS and Davies, WJ 2014, 'The effects of expectation on the perception of soundscapes' , Applied Acoustics, 85 , pp. 1-11.

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This paper explores how expectations of a place and its soundscape can affect our perception of that soundscape. Previous soundscape research has included expectation as one possible element of the context in which soundscape evaluation takes place. This work aimed to focus on expectation and unpack it to improve understanding of its different components and how it works. A combination of soundwalks, interviews, focus groups and an interactive soundscape simulation were used in the investigation. A linked series of locations in Manchester and London were studied. It was found that participants’ perceptions of a soundscape, both real and simulated, were affected by expectation in several different ways. Participants expected certain types of sound to be present in a particular space. Participants distinguished between whether a sound was expected and whether it sounded pleasant. It was also possible to distinguish between the expectation of particular sound sources and the expectation of the soundscape as a whole. The latter was found to be driven significantly by prior experience of similar spaces and also by perceived loudness. Participants also had expectations about the type of activity they could undertake in a particular soundscape, the behaviour of other people as expressed in the soundscape, and the degree of control they might have over their own exposure to the sound. These findings suggest that expectations of a soundscape are based on prior experience in a way which is consistent with Truax’s notion of soundscape competence. The results have been used to produce a new model for soundscape expectation which is expressed as a flowchart.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: soundscape, soundwalk, expectation, context, competence, perception, noise.
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Health and Wellbeing
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre (SIRC)
Journal or Publication Title: Applied Acoustics
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0003-682X
Related URLs:
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Depositing User: Dr W. J. Davies
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2014 14:13
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:53

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