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      Restorative Qualities of and Preference for Natural and Urban Soundscapes

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          Abstract

          Psychological restoration in urban agglomerations has become a growing challenge. Although scientific proof of the significance of nature is irrefutable, an increase in built-up areas has led to a decrease in urban greenery. Thus, a growing need for restorativeness in urban surroundings has emerged. To investigate whether positively evaluated sonic environments, represented by natural and urban sounds, have comparable restorative qualities we conducted two studies. The aim of the first (Study 1) was to explore the restorative qualities of positively assessed natural and urban sounds. Participants ( N = 88) were asked to listen and to rate 22 recordings (each 1 min long) either from natural or urban environments. In the second (Study 2) we investigated whether positively evaluated sonic environments (natural and urban), demand for restoration (feeling relaxed or fatigued) and company (being alone or with a friend) affect the restorative qualities of natural and urban soundscapes. After reading assigned scenarios (feeling relaxed or fatigued; being alone or with a friend), participants ( N = 120) were asked to imagine a walk in presented sonic environments and to complete forms (one for each sonic environment) concerning the restorative qualities of given soundscapes (natural and urban). Top five recordings of natural and urban sonic environments were selected from Study 1 and combined into a 154-s soundtrack, to provide a background for the imagined walks in both settings. Our findings confirmed that natural sounds are perceived more favorably than urban recordings. Even when only the most positively assessed soundscapes were compared, nature was still perceived as being more restorative than urban areas. Company of a friend was found to be more beneficial in the urban surroundings, particularly when there was no need for restoration.

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          Most cited references43

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          More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns

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            Recovery from job stress: The stressor-detachment model as an integrative framework

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              Directed Attention as a Common Resource for Executive Functioning and Self-Regulation.

              Research on executive functioning and on self-regulation have each identified a critical resource that is central to that domain and is susceptible to depletion. In addition, studies have shown that self-regulation tasks and executive-functioning tasks interact with each other, suggesting that they may share resources. Other research has focused specifically on restoring what we propose is the shared resource between self-regulation and executive functioning. Utilizing a theory-based natural environment intervention, these studies have found improvements in executive-functioning performance and self-regulation effectiveness, suggesting that the natural environment intervention restores this shared resource.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-1078
                04 October 2017
                2017
                : 8
                : 1705
                Affiliations
                Wrocław Faculty of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities , Wrocław, Poland
                Author notes

                Edited by: Stephan Barthel, University of Gävle, Sweden

                Reviewed by: Helena Nordh, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway; Tony Peter Craig, James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom

                *Correspondence: Paulina Krzywicka, pkrzywicka@ 123456st.swps.edu.pl

                This article was submitted to Environmental Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Article
                10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01705
                5632731
                29046653
                e292a609-40b2-4e8c-8760-dfc5c860d527
                Copyright © 2017 Krzywicka and Byrka.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                History
                : 22 March 2017
                : 19 September 2017
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 61, Pages: 13, Words: 0
                Categories
                Psychology
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                restoration,restorative qualities,sounds,sonic environment,natural soundscapes,urban soundscapes,preference

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