The Aesthetic Preference for Nature Sounds Depends on Sound Object Recognition

Cognitive Science 43 (5):e12734 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


People across the world seek out beautiful sounds in nature, such as a babbling brook or a nightingale song, for positive human experiences. However, it is unclear whether this positive aesthetic response is driven by a preference for the perceptual features typical of nature sounds versus a higher‐order association of nature with beauty. To test these hypotheses, participants provided aesthetic judgments for nature and urban soundscapes that varied on ease of recognition. Results demonstrated that the aesthetic preference for nature soundscapes was eliminated for the sounds hardest to recognize, and moreover the relationship between aesthetic ratings and several measured acoustic features significantly changed as a function of recognition. In a follow‐up experiment, requiring participants to classify these difficult‐to‐identify sounds into nature or urban categories resulted in a robust preference for nature sounds and a relationship between aesthetic ratings and our measured acoustic features that was more typical of easy‐to‐identify sounds. This pattern of results was replicated with computer‐generated artificial noises, which acoustically shared properties with the nature and urban soundscapes but by definition did not come from these environments. Taken together, these results support the conclusion that the recognition of a sound as either natural or urban dynamically organizes the relationship between aesthetic preference and perceptual features and that these preferences are not inherent to the acoustic features. Implications for nature's role in cognitive and affective restoration are discussed.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,088

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Aesthetic strategies in sonification.Florian Grond & Thomas Hermann - 2012 - AI and Society 27 (2):213-222.
Echoes.Casey O’Callaghan - 2007 - The Monist 90 (3):403-414.
What are auditory objects?Matthew Nudds - 2007 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (1):105-122.
Sounds.Christopher John O'callaghan - 2002 - Dissertation, Princeton University
The Nature of Aesthetic Experiences.Fabian Dorsch - 2000 - Dissertation, University College London
The Emergence of Sound Art: Opening the Cages of Sound.Carmen Pardo - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (1):35-48.
Seis consideraciones en favor de la estética natural.Roman de la Calle - 2006 - Quaderns de Filosofia i Ciència 36:85-92.


Added to PP

30 (#474,451)

6 months
7 (#213,770)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile