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Using nature-based soundscapes to support task performance and mood

Newbold, JW; Luton, J; Cox, AL; Gould, SJJ; (2017) Using nature-based soundscapes to support task performance and mood. In: Mark, Gloria and Fussell, Susan and Lampe, Cliff and Schraefel, M.C. and Hourcade, Juan Pablo and Appert, Caroline and Wigdor, Daniel, (eds.) Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (pp. pp. 2802-2809). ACM,: New York, USA. Green open access

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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.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Using nature-based soundscapes to support task performance and mood
Event: 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN-13: 9781450346566
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/3027063.3053214
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1145/3027063.3053214
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Soundscapes; nature; workplace; task performance; mood;
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > UCL Interaction Centre
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1561792
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