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Human perception of soundscape across cultures: from forest to urban landscapes

posted on 2023-06-09, 02:28 authored by Paola Moscoso, Mika PeckMika Peck, Alice EldridgeAlice Eldridge
There is increasing interest in the role of human soundscape perception in understanding and evaluating social-ecological interactions; the importance of natural soundscapes for human wellbeing is also increasingly recognized. Research to date has focused on preferences and a t tudes to western, urban locations where natural soundscapes are restricted to parks and open areas. This paper reports a study of soundscape perception in three social groups living in areas differing in the level of landscape disturbance, from pristine forest and pre-urban landscapes in Ecuador to urban landscapes in UK and USA. In a series of structured interviews, participants described three sounds they associated with a range of emotions. These were categorized according to an adapted version of Schafer’s sound classification scheme. Statistical analyses were carried out to test di ff erences between groups and map the overall soundscape. Results suggest that although the sonic environment of each group differed, some patterns in the relationship between sound and emotions were similar: 1) Natural sounds were mostly associated with positive emotions – although in the forest group, they were associated with the full range of emotions. 2) Human sounds were not related to speci fi c emotions. 3) Mechanical and industrial sounds were mainly associated with negative emotions. This assessment is a fast and cheap tool that provides an overview of soundscape from a community perspective. It could help to identify sound sensibilities and soundscape values among societies, to investigate the impacts of habitat disturbance on human well-being. The potential contribution of soundscape perception within current conservation approaches is discussed.


Rapid Acoustic Survey: Validating Acoustic Methods for Biodiversity Assessment; UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX


Publication status

  • Published

Presentation Type

  • paper

Event name

International Society of Ecoacoustics International Society of Ecoacoustics Ecoacoustics Congress 2016

Event location

Michigan, US

Event type


Event date

June, 2016

Department affiliated with

  • Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Sussex Humanities Lab Publications


Ecoacoustics, Conservation, Soundscape Ecology

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • No

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