Car designers are interested in understanding what attributes of naturally occurring, generated and modified sounds make them more or less desirable to end users. In this research, we investigated millennials' perception of proposed next-generation car sounds and other product sounds.
An auditory perceptional test was conducted to determine sound preferences in which people were presented with a current sound, a very different sound and something in between the two. Intentional sounds and consequential sounds were considered in six contexts. Because of the focus on next-generation
cars, responses from millennials are of particular interest. The very different sounds were inspired by the musical preferences of the millennial generation. The influence of visual information and perceived functionality on the sound preferences was also examined. Forty university students
and staff volunteered to participate in the test. The results showed that millennials preferred traditional sounds in most contexts and their sound preferences aligned with certain sound evaluations and verbal descriptions. Participants' verbal descriptions of the sounds provided interesting
insights into the relationship between the sound evaluations and participants' perception of the sounds. In several cases, the order in which the pictorial and textual cues of context were presented impacted how people rated the sounds. These results may shed light on how to integrate millennials'
preferences into the design of future product sounds.
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