Restorative Qualities of and Preference for Natural and Urban Soundscapes

Paulina Krzywicka , Katarzyna Byrka


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.
Author Paulina Krzywicka
Paulina Krzywicka,,
, Katarzyna Byrka (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Katarzyna Byrka,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
Journal seriesFrontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets0.6
Keywords in Englishrestoration, restorative qualities, sounds, sonic environment, natural soundscapes, urban soundscapes, preference
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
29. Byrka, Krzywicka_Frontiers_2017.pdf 441.62 KB
Additional file
Byrka_oświadczenie.pdf 155.05 KB
29a. Krzywicka_FrontiersinPsychology.pdf 121.83 KB
Score (nominal)35
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.006; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.089 (2) - 2017=2.749 (5)
Citation count*31 (2021-04-09)
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
Are you sure?