New Insights into Soundscape Evaluations Using the Experience Sampling Method

Invited paper

Jochen Steffens

McGill University - School of Information Studies & CIRMMT

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 15:40 - 16:00

0.6 Madrid (49)

Soundscape research draws from quantitative (e.g. controlled experiments) and qualitative methods (e.g. soundwalks) to explore peoples’ perception and understanding of their acoustic environments. One opportunity to combine the strength of both approaches is the so-called Experience Sampling Method (ESM). ESM refers to a method of data collection in which people periodically make momentary (i.e. “in-the-moment”) judgments over the course of the day while naturally acting within their everyday environment. This means that reactions to environmental sounds are captured as they occur. We conducted a 7-day ESM study to investigate the relationship between momentary and retrospective soundscape judgments. Furthermore, we studied the influence of situational variables on three main soundscape dimensions of pleasantness, eventfulness, and familiarity. In the course of the study, participants were prompted 10 times a day by a cell phone application. They were asked to evaluate their soundscape and report on their mood, activity at-hand, and the degree of attention paid to the soundscape. Additionally, they performed summary retrospective judgments at the end of each day. Preliminary results with 15 participants show that daily retrospective judgments of soundscape pleasantness can be predicted by the average and the linear trend of the momentary judgments and the person’s mood while performing the judgment. Moreover, direct and moderating effects of the situational variables (e.g. attention, activity) on momentary judgments were observed. The data analysis led to a structural equation model illustrating the relationship between the variables measured. On theoretical grounds, the results provide new insights into the complex interplay of psychological factors in soundscape perception. Additionally, on methodological grounds, the ESM is a promising tool to collect naturalistic longitudinal data to investigate the role of the situation in which the experience takes place.

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