Using nature-based soundscapes to support task performance and mood

Joseph W. Newbold, Jacob Luton, Anna L. Cox, Sandy J.J. Gould

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Smartphone apps that enable workers to listen to nature soundscapes are increasingly popular. There is, however, little evidence that these soundscapes have the effects that they claim to have. Previous research exploring the effect of listening to background music during tasks has shown that while such music may have a positive effect on emotional state, it can disrupt reading and memory-based tasks. This paper explores the effects of nature soundscapes on mood and performance. A diary study of the use of soundscapes whilst studying suggests that students view such soundscapes as: aiding focus whilst studying; creating feelings of calm and peace; helping to manage stress and anxiety; and hiding distracting sounds. A second study - an experiment - investigated the effects of nature soundscapes on mood and performance. Whilst we found no effect of soundscapes on mood and arousal during the task, our results demonstrate that high acoustic variation in a soundscape may cause a disruption to serial recall tasks. The implications of our findings suggest that nature soundscapes with high acoustic variation may be detrimental to task performance compared to working in silence for serial based thinking tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2017 Extended Abstracts - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationExplore, Innovate, Inspire
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages2802-2809
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346566
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2017 - Denver, United States
Duration: 6 May 201711 May 2017

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
VolumePart F127655

Conference

Conference2017 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2017
CountryUnited States
CityDenver
Period6/05/1711/05/17

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