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An Experimental Study: The Restorative Effect of Soundscape Elements in a Simulated Open-Plan Office

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Studies have proven that restorative environments show apparent positive effects on human health and wellbeing. In addition to the restorative effects of visual environments, recent research has shown increased interest in restorative soundscapes. The aim of this study is to examine whether a soundscape element perceived as pleasant has restorative effects in a simulated open-plan office. Subjects (N = 75) were recruited to participate in three experiments under different conditions: (a) different sound types, (b) different sound sequences, and (c) different audio-visual conditions. To measure stress recovery and fatigue mitigation, seven indicators representing participants' physiological responses, psychological experience and cognitive performance were used. The results showed that the soundscape elements that were perceived as pleasant had an apparent positive effect on tiredness restoration and annoyance reduction. Interestingly, sound elements had a greater effect on psychological restoration compared with visual scenes under the simulated conditions of an open-plan office. Furthermore, it was shown that continuous sound did not have better restorative effects than intermittent sound. These findings revealed the restorative potential of a good soundscape and might provide some practical guidance on how to create a restorative environment in open-plan offices.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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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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