Perception of soundscapes: An interdisciplinary approach

William J. Davies*, Mags D. Adams, Neil S. Bruce, Rebecca Cain, Angus Carlyle, Peter Cusack, Deborah A. Hall, Ken I. Hume, Amy Irwin, Paul Jennings, Melissa Marselle, Christopher J. Plack, John Poxon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)


This paper takes an overall view of findings from the Positive Soundscape Project, a large inter-disciplinary soundscapes study. Qualitative fieldwork (soundwalks and focus groups) have found that soundscape perception is influenced by cognitive effects such as the meaning of a soundscape and its components, and how information is conveyed by a soundscape, for example on the behaviour of people within the soundscape. Three significant clusters were found in the language people use to describe soundscapes: sound sources, sound descriptors and soundscape descriptors. Results from listening tests and soundwalks have been integrated to show that the two principal dimensions of soundscape emotional response seem to be calmness and vibrancy. Further, vibrancy seems to have two aspects: organisation of sounds and changes over time. The possible application of the results to soundscape assessment and design are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-231
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Acoustics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Emotion
  • Noise
  • Perception
  • Soundscape
  • Soundwalk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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