When Room Size Matters: Acoustic Influences on Emotional Responses to Sounds
Journal article, 2010
When people hear a sound (a "sound object" or a "sound event") the perceived auditory space around them might modulate their emotional responses to it. Spaces can affect both the acoustic properties of the sound event itself and may also impose boundaries to the actions one can take with respect to this event. Virtual acoustic rooms of different sizes were used in a subjective and psychophysiological experiment that evaluated the influence of the auditory space perception on emotional responses to various sound sources. Participants (N = 20) were exposed to acoustic spaces with sound source positions and room acoustic properties varying across the experimental conditions. The results suggest that, overall, small rooms were considered more pleasant, calmer, and safer than big rooms, although this effect of size seems to disappear when listening to threatening sound sources. Sounds heard behind the listeners tended to be more arousing, and elicited larger physiological changes than sources in front of the listeners. These effects were more pronounced for natural, compared to artificial, sound sources, as confirmed by subjective and physiological measures.
auditory virtual rooms