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Open Access Trend Effects in Momentary and Retrospective Soundscape Judgments

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When an experience is evaluated retrospectively, its various elements have to be temporally integrated into an overall evaluation. The framework underlying this study is the peak-end rule, which states that retrospective judgments are based on the most intense and the end points. Furthermore, the effect of the linear trend on retrospective judgments was investigated. The trend of an experience is hypothesized to provide a “look into the future” and to reinforce anticipation. 49 listeners took part at this experiment comparing momentary and retrospective pleasantness judgments of soundscapes. The task of the experimental group was to indicate momentary judgments by continuously adjusting a slider on a computer interface over the course of the stimulus presentation. Additionally, the participants had to make an overall retrospective judgment of the soundscapes after listening to them. To control for the effect of the momentary judgment itself, a control group was asked to only judge the sounds retrospectively. The results reveal that retrospective soundscape evaluations can be explained by the average of the momentary judgments and the linear trend of the temporal experience. The unweighted combination of peak and end, in contrast, did not receive support. A post-hoc analysis shows that an adjustment of the weightings of the peak and the end also leads to a great amount of explained variance of the retrospective judgments. This investigation shows that beyond pure “cognitive averaging” the temporal development of the experience, especially in terms of its linear trend, is taken into account by the listener when evaluating soundscape as a whole. This is of crucial importance for the understanding of cognitive processes underlying sound evaluations. Future directions include in-situ soundscape evaluations in the temporal course of everyday life.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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