University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery

Ratcliffe, Eleanor, Gatersleben, Birgitta and Sowden, Paul T. (2013) Bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36. pp. 221-228.

Ratcliffe et al., in press - Bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery.pdf - Accepted version Manuscript
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (246kB) | Preview


Natural environments, and particularly visual stimuli in nature, are usually perceived as restorative following stress and attention fatigue. Studies extending these findings to auditory natural stimuli have used soundscapes comprising multiple types of sound. Birdsong recurs as a type of sound used in such studies, but little is known about restorative perceptions of bird sounds on their own and how these may relate to existing theories of environmental restoration. Via semi-structured interviews with twenty adult participants, bird songs and calls were found to be the type of natural sound most commonly associated with perceived stress recovery and attention restoration. However, not all bird sounds were regarded as helpful for such processes. Three themes formed the basis of these perceived relationships: affective appraisals, cognitive appraisals, and relationships with nature. Sub-themes of the acoustic, aesthetic, and associative properties of bird sounds were also related to restorative perceptions. Future studies should quantitatively examine the potential of a variety of bird sounds to aid attention restoration and stress recovery, and how these might be predicted by acoustic, aesthetic, and associative properties, in order to better understand how and why sounds such as birdsong might provide restorative benefits. This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/J500148/1]; the National Trust; and the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Sowden, Paul
Date : 2 September 2013
Funders : Economic and Social Research Council, National Trust, Surrey Wildlife Trust
DOI : 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.08.004
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Uncontrolled Keywords : Restorative environments; Attention restoration; Stress recovery; Sounds; Birdsong
Related URLs :
Additional Information : Notice: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Environmental PSychology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definite version was subsequently published in Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36, 221-228, December 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.08.004
Depositing User : Eleanor Ratcliffe
Date Deposited : 14 May 2014 10:50
Last Modified : 29 Jan 2019 15:53

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800