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Startle, Annoyance and Psychophysiological Responses to Repeated Sound Bursts

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This study was designed to investigate the relationships both between startle and annoyance ratings and between these ratings and heart rate, skin conductance, and electromyographic responses. The experimental sounds had three different frequency contents and two rise times. In a laboratory experiment, 48 subjects were exposed to three blocks of nine noise bursts, each consisting of 5-second plateau at a sound pressure level of 80 dBA. Psycho-acoustical ratings were collected for startle, fright, conspicuousness and annoyance, and the psychophysiological indicators were measured. The principal component analysis of the psycho-acoustical measures established two components associated with startle and annoyance. Startle and annoyance ratings were found to be associated with psychophysiological indicators. A short onset-latency increase in heart rate was associated with startle rating, and annoyance was indicated by a simultaneous increase in electromyography. It is concluded that the annoyance resulting from a sound stimulus is not necessarily associated with the evoked startle responses.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-07-01

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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