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  • 1.
    Alvarsson, Jesper J.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nordström, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Lundén, Peter
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Aircraft noise and speech intelligibility in an outdoor living space2014In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 135, no 6, p. 3455-3462Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Studies of effects on speech intelligibility from aircraft noise in outdoor places are currently lacking. To explore these effects, first-order ambisonic recordings of aircraft noise were reproduced outdoors in a pergola. The average background level was 47 dB L-Aeq. Lists of phonetically balanced words (L-ASmax,L- word = 54 dB) were reproduced simultaneously with aircraft passage noise (L-ASmax,L- noise = 72-84 dB). Twenty individually tested listeners wrote down each presented word while seated in the pergola. The main results were (i) aircraft noise negatively affects speech intelligibility at sound pressure levels that exceed those of the speech sound (signal-to-noise ratio, S/N < 0), and (ii) the simple A-weighted S/N ratio was nearly as good an indicator of speech intelligibility as were two more advanced models, the Speech Intelligibility Index and Glasberg and Moore's [J. Audio Eng. Soc. 53, 906-918 (2005)] partial loudness model. This suggests that any of these indicators is applicable for predicting effects of aircraft noise on speech intelligibility outdoors.

  • 2.
    Alvarsson, Jesper J.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Wiens, Stefan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Stress Recovery during Exposure to Nature Sound and Environmental Noise2010In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 7, no 3, p. 1036-1046Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research suggests that visual impressions of natural compared with urban environments facilitate recovery after psychological stress. To test whether auditory stimulation has similar effects, 40 subjects were exposed to sounds from nature or noisy environments after a stressful mental arithmetic task. Skin conductance level (SCL) was used to index sympathetic activation, and high frequency heart rate variability (HF HRV) was used to index parasympathetic activation. Although HF HRV showed no effects, SCL recovery tended to be faster during natural sound than noisy environments. These results suggest that nature sounds facilitate recovery from sympathetic activation after a psychological stressor.

  • 3. Andéhn, Mikael
    et al.
    Nordin, Fredrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Facets of country image and brand equity: Revisiting the role of product categories in country-of-origin effect research2016In: Journal of Consumer Behaviour, ISSN 1472-0817, E-ISSN 1479-1838, Vol. 15, no 3, p. 225-238Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The country-of-origin effect is a topic central to the field of international marketing. Country of origin has been found to exert a particularly potent effect on consumer evaluation in situations where there is a strong link between a country and a particular product category. The present study provides further insight into how this particular effect can be understood. Drawing on a novel conceptualization of how country image and product categories interact, this study tested the relative evaluative relevance of product category with respect to estimates of brand equity across a variety of product categories. The findings suggest that facets of a country's image that are more closely related to the evaluation situation exert a greater influence on the evaluation of brands. This result encourages scholars as well as practitioners to re-evaluate which situations might cause the country of origin effect to hold managerial relevance and paves the way for new paths toward a more comprehensive understanding of the effect. 

  • 4.
    Axelsson, Östen
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Soundscape assessment.2005In: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, Vol. 117, no 4, p. 2591-2592Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to improve the quality of the soundscape it is necessary to know its descriptive and evaluative properties, and the relationships between these properties. This was explored in a listening experiment with 100 participants (48 women, 52 men; mean age 25,6 years). Each participant scaled 5 out of 50 soundscapes with regard to 116 single verbal attributes, using a visual analogue scale of agreeableness. In addition, acoustical properties of the soundscapes were assessed. A principal component analysis identified two major evaluative components, labeled Hedonic Tone and Eventfulness. Furthermore it was found that the mere presence of common sound sources, regardless of sound level, correlated significantly with these evaluative components. Technological sounds (e.g., traffic noise) were negatively associated with both Hedonic Tone and Eventfulness, while a positive association was found between Hedonic Tone and sounds of nature (e.g., bird song), and a positive association was found between Eventfulness and human sounds (e.g., human voices). These relationships lead to the hypothesis that introduction of nature and human sounds, in combination with the reduction of technological sounds may improve the quality of soundscapes considerably.

  • 5.
    Axelsson, Östen
    et al.
    University of Sheffield, UK.
    Lundén, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sound Cities: Computational modelling of urban soundscape quality2013In: Inter Noise 2013: Noise Control for Quality of Life. Innsbruck, Austria / [ed] W. Talasch, 2013Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Whether to improve existing acoustic environments, as they are perceived or experienced and/or understood by people, in context (i.e., soundscapes), or to design future soundscapes it is central to have a prediction model that relates predictors (i.e., acoustic indicators) to outcomes (i.e., psychological variables). In the Sound Cities project it is proposed to use as outcome what Axelsson previously has termed Information Load. The purpose of the Sound Cities project is to identify what acoustic indicators may predict the information load of soundscapes. The method will be psychoacoustic experiments in which a large sample of naïve listeners will assess recordings of authentic acoustic environments with regards to information load. Acoustic signals and information-load data will be submitted to machine learning, based on music information retrieval technology. It is expected that the Sound Cities project will contribute to the underpinnings of future tools for soundscape planning and design, like soundscape maps that provide information on how people perceive the acoustic environment. This is in contrast to present noise maps, which only provide calculated sound-pressure levels from transportation and industry.

  • 6.
    Axelsson, Östen
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Water features and acoustic diversity of urban parks2011In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 130, no 4, p. 2533-2533Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Water features are well-acknowledged in architecture and urban planning for their visual characteristics. But, how do water features contribute to acoustic diversity and soundscape quality? Visitors in an urban park were recruited to complete a questionnaire on how they perceived the park including its soundscape. Meanwhile, the soundscape was manipulated by turning a fountain on or off at irregular hours. The fountain sounds had a positive effect on soundscape quality in an area close to the fountain, by masking background road-traffic noise. The fountain sound also masked other natural sounds, which may have a negative influence on acoustic diversity and soundscape quality. In addition, some participants may have mistaken the fountain sounds for distant road-traffic noise. Hence, when introducing a water feature in an urban park it is necessary to consider the acoustic characteristics of the water sounds, as well as the placement of the water feature.

  • 7.
    Axelsson, Östen
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    A principal components model of soundscape perception2010In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 128, no 5, p. 2836-2846Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There is a need for a model that identifies underlying dimensions of soundscape perception, and which may guide measurement and improvement of soundscape quality. With the purpose to develop such a model, a listening experiment was conducted. One hundred listeners measured 50 excerpts of binaural recordings of urban outdoor soundscapes on 116 attribute scales. The average attribute scale values were subjected to principal components analysis, resulting in three components: Pleasantness, eventfulness, and familiarity, explaining 50, 18 and 6% of the total variance, respectively. The principal-component scores were correlated with physical soundscape properties, including categories of dominant sounds and acoustic variables. Soundscape excerpts dominated by technological sounds were found to be unpleasant, whereas soundscape excerpts dominated by natural sounds were pleasant, and soundscape excerpts dominated by human sounds were eventful. These relationships remained after controlling for the overall soundscape loudness (Zwicker’s N10), which shows that ‘informational’ properties are substantial contributors to the perception of soundscape. The proposed principal components model provides a framework for future soundscape research and practice. In particular, it suggests which basic dimensions are necessary to measure, how to measure them by a defined set of attribute scales, and how to promote high-quality soundscapes.

  • 8.
    Axelsson, Östen
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Validation of the Swedish soundscape-quality protocol2012In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, Vol. 131, no 4, p. 3474-Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The Swedish Soundscape-Quality Protocol was developed to help non-experts (e.g., officials working for municipalities rather than soundscaperesearchers) to make informed, accurate measurements of soundscape quality. The Protocol has hitherto been used in England, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and The Netherlands; a Korean version is being developed. Based on field studies – soundwalks in urban residential areas, recreational areas, and parks – the present paper reports on the psychometric properties of the scales of the Protocol. Participants were residents, or visitors to the areas and their results support the reliability and validity of the scales in the Protocol. Because high acoustic quality has a greater effect in visually attractive than in visually poor areas, the Swedish Soundscape-Quality Protocol includes scales for cross-sensory tabulation. These are sound source identification – sounds from humans, nature and technology – attribute scales (e.g., eventful, exciting, pleasant, and calm), overall soundscape quality, and concomitant visual impressions. In brief, the Swedish Soundscape-Quality Protocol is an easy to use and practical tool for measuringsoundscape quality. It has the potential to help operationalize how soundscapes can be measured in “quiet areas” to meet a future guideline value of the World Health Organization.

  • 9.
    Axelsson, Östen
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hellström, Björn
    Lundén, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    A field experiment on the impact of sounds from a jet-and-basin fountain on soundscape quality in an urban park2014In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 123, p. 49-60Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A field experiment was conducted to explore whether water sounds from a fountain had a positive impact on soundscape quality in a downtown park. In total, 405 visitors were recruited to answer a questionnaire on how they perceived the park, including its acoustic environment. Meanwhile the fountain was turned on or off, at irregular hours. Water sounds from the fountain were not directly associated with ratings of soundscape quality. Rather, the predictors of soundscape quality were the variables Road-traffic noise and Other natural sounds. The former had a negative and the latter a positive impact. However, water sounds may have had an indirect impact on soundscape quality by affecting the audibility of road-traffic and natural sounds. The present results, obtained in situ, agree with previous results in soundscape research that the sounds perceived particularly roadtraffic and natural sounds explain soundscape quality. They also agree with the results from laboratory studies that water sounds may mask roadtraffic sounds, but that this is not simple and straight forward. Thus sound should be brought into the design scheme when introducing water features in urban open spaces, and their environmental impact must be thoroughly assessed empirically.

  • 10.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Axelsson, Östen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    A dualistic psychoacoustic research strategy for measuring soundscape quality: Paper 034.2006In: Inter-Noise 2006–Engineering a Quieter World.: Engineering a Quieter World., 2006Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to be able to design future soundscapes, tools are needed by which soundscape quality can be measured. For this purpose a “dualistic psychoacoustic research strategy” has been developed. The main goal of this strategy is to identify new ways to characterize soundscapes acoustically. The core question is how soundscapes should be measured on the one hand acoustically, on the other perceptually, such that the acoustic soundscapes that are similar (or dissimilar) would be identical to the perceived soundscapes that are similar (or dissimilar). A top down approach is favored in which tools for measuring perceived soundscape quality are first developed, and followed by developing models of measurement for acoustic soundscapes. Our multidimensional tool for measuring perceived soundscapes includes (perceived) similarity analysis for finding basic underlying dimensions and corresponding similarity analysis of acoustic (waterfall) soundscape quality. This means that this tool measures soundscape quality beyond loudness of unwanted sounds or mere sound level of predominant noise. Research on neural network models is in progress for finding appropriate acoustic measures of soundscapes.

  • 11.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Axelsson, Östen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Are similar acoustic soundscapes perceived as similar?: Paper SS29-355.2006In: EuroNoise 2006: Advanced Solutions for Noise Control., 2006Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Health guidelines are concerned with soundscapes as coherent wholes (emissions from all sounds) and everyday life also takes place in soundscapes. Current noise control focuses on sound level change for singular sources, isolated from invariant background and other component sounds. By applying a dualistic similarity approach to data sets of perceptual soundscapes and acoustic soundscapes, it was possible to meaningfully differentiate properties of acoustic soundscapes of relevance for improving urban and suburban soundscapes. Apart from the mere presence of common sounds (e.g., birds, sounds of nature or technological sounds), meaningful differentiations of soundscapes include: (1) the relative proportion of direct and shielded sounds in background soundscapes, (2) the modification of loudness/softness and eventfulness/uneventfulness by acoustic quality, and (3) the “sound signatures” traceable to the relative foreground-background character of perceived soundscapes. Acoustically similar soundscapes (evolutionary spectra) were not always perceived similar, because the reasons for the two types of similarities differ. This fact calls for new ways to assess the acoustic soundscapes such that adequate design tools for coherent soundscapes can be developed.

  • 12.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Axelsson, Östen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    The soundscape explicated.2005In: Archives of Acoustics, ISSN 0137-5075, Vol. 30, no 4 (Supplement), p. 127-130Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Landscapes but not soundscapes are planned. Today’s noise control is based on traffic noise prognosis and is confined to average sound level of traffic noise. However, the heterogeneous soundscape embraces many component sounds, background sound inclusive. Prognostic design tools are needed by which “quiet” and pleasing soundscapes can be ensured. In a psychoacoustic experiment, promising properties of soundscapes were retrieved from similarities among evolutionary spectra. These were meaningfully differentiated in accord with features of perceived soundscapes extracted by multi-dimensional scaling: (a) position and slope of loudness functions due to qualitative differences (road-traffic exposed or shielded sides of buildings), (b) clusters of shielded soundscapes relative to two types of sound-exposed soundscapes, and (c) relative contribution of direct sound to background in soundscapes. The dualistic similarity approach conveys useful knowledge for soundscape design and mitigation psychophysics.

  • 13.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Lindvall, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Noise. In The National Board of Health and Welfare: Environmental Health Report 2005. Extended Summary.2005Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Community noise is a widespread environmental problem in Sweden and is the form of disturbance that affects the highest number of both children and adults. Twelve-year-olds are disturbed by the same noise sources as adults, but, for children, loud music is the most annoying source, whereas road-traffic noise is most annoying source for adults. One child in every seven is annoyed by noise in or near the home and one in four is annoyed by noise in or near the school/kindergarten. One in every five report that after listening to loud music or other loud sounds. They experience ringing, squeaking, howling or buzzing in their ears, this being slightly more frequent among boys than girls. Just over one in ten report that their hearing is sometimes worse after listening to loud music. Children are exposed to hearing-impairing noise to a larger extent than in the past. Sound levels measured in kindergartens and schools exceed the limit for when ear protectors must be worn according to legislation governing health and safety at work. It is important that children’s noise exposures in kindergartens, schools and leisure environments are reduced as well as children's exposure to excessively loud music.

  • 14.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Axelsson, Östen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Soundscape perception.2006In: Joint Baltic-Nordic Acoustics Meeting 2006.: 8-10 November 2006, Gothenburg, Sweden., 2006Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    Annoyance research typically focuses on single sources and on adverse effects of noise. In contrast, soundscape research focuses on the total sound environment, including all its positive and negative aspects. A major challenge in soundscape research is to develop methods for measuring the perceived soundscape. In the research program “Soundscape Support to Health”, we have developed new methods for this purpose, including listening tests in the laboratory, listening walks in the field and questionnaire studies targeted on the soundscape. We have thus identified major perpetual dimensions of soundscapes (pleasantness and eventfulness), linked these features to important acoustical and informational properties of soundscapes (type of sources), and explored the effect of noise mitigation on soundscape perception. Our research show (a) that pleasantness of soundscapes is related to the presence of natural sounds, whereas eventfulness is related to the presence of sounds from humans, (b) that traffic noise should be reduced to below 50 dBA, in order to have a chance to create good outdoor soundscapes in urban residential and recreational areas, and (c) that mitigation efficiency in sound level of various barriers and facades may overestimate corresponding perceptual mitigation efficiency. Based on these findings, new tools for ‘green labelling’ of soundscapes are being developed.

  • 15.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Perception och Psykofysik.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Perception och Psykofysik.
    Axelsson, Östen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Perception och Psykofysik.
    Soundscape psychophysics in place2007In: Proc. Inter-Noise 2007, 2007, p. IN07–114-Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 16. Bluhm, Gösta
    et al.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rosenlund, Mats
    Buller.2006In: Barns hälsa och miljö i Stockholms län 2006: Regional Miljöhälsorapport, 2006, Stockholms läns landsting, Stockholm , 2006, p. 113-126Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Noise is an environmental problem that affects children both at school and home. This chapter summarizes the results on noise disturbances from the “Children’s environment and health survey” conducted in Stockholm County in year 2003. It was found that children were most disturbed by noise at school. Thirty per cent of all 8- and 12 year old children in Stockholm County were annoyed by noise at school, mainly noise from other children. Children in Stockholm County were exposed to more noise in their homes than children in other parts of Sweden. Almost 50 % of children in inner city Stockholm and 20 % in the rest of the County were living in apartments with windows facing a major road, railway or industry. Eighteen per cent of all 8- and 12-year olds were disturbed by noise in their homes. Slightly less than 6 % reports that noise disturbed school homework or speech communication, whereas 4 % reported difficulties in falling asleep due to noise in the home. Approximately three per cent of parents to all 4-, 8- and 12-year old children reported that their children have reduced hearing, and three per cent of 8- and 12-year old children reported that they have tinnitus. It is concluded that noise in dwellings and schools should be reduced in order to provide good and healthy sound environments for children. Furthermore, the sound environment should be considered already at the planning stage, in order to minimize indoor and outdoor noise exposure in future dwellings and schools.

  • 17. Bolin, Karl
    et al.
    Bluhm, Gosta
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Listening Test Comparing A-Weighted and C-Weighted Sound Pressure Level as Indicator of Wind Turbine Noise Annoyance2014In: Acta Acoustica united with Acustica, ISSN 1610-1928, E-ISSN 1861-9959, Vol. 100, no 5, p. 842-847Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A listening test was conducted to investigate whether A-or C-weighed sound levels are most suitable as indicator of annoyance due to wind turbine noise. The tests consisted of fifteen different wind turbine noises presented at eight sound levels together with pink noise signals as reference sounds. A total number of 31 persons performed the listening test divided into two subgroups. The first group comprising of 20 students conducted the test in a semi anechoic chamber, and the second group of 11 residents annoyed by wind turbine noise in their homes, conducted the test in their own homes. Results from both subgroups showed that A-weighed sound levels were a more accurate description of wind turbine noise annoyance than C-weighed sound levels. The residents found the same wind turbine noises more annoying than the students, indicating a higher sensitivity to wind turbine noise among persons a priori annoyed by this noise and exposed to this source in their residential settings.

  • 18. Bolin, Karl
    et al.
    Bluhm, Gösta
    Eriksson, Gabriella
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Infrasound and low frequency noise from wind turbines: exposure and health effects2011In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, E-ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 035103-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Wind turbines emit low frequency noise (LFN) and large turbines generally generate more LFN than small turbines. The dominant source of LFN is the interaction between incoming turbulence and the blades. Measurements suggest that indoor levels of LFN in dwellings typically are within recommended guideline values, provided that the outdoor level does not exceed corresponding guidelines for facade exposure. Three cross-sectional questionnaire studies show that annoyance from wind turbine noise is related to the immission level, but several explanations other than low frequency noise are probable. A statistically significant association between noise levels and self-reported sleep disturbance was found in two of the three studies. It has been suggested that LFN from wind turbines causes other, and more serious, health problems, but empirical support for these claims is lacking.

  • 19. Bolin, Karl
    et al.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Khan, Shafiquzzaman
    The Potential of Natural Sounds to Mask Wind Turbine Noise2010In: Acta Acoustica united with Acustica, ISSN 1610-1928, E-ISSN 1861-9959, Vol. 96, no 1, p. 131-137Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Wind turbine (WT) noise may cause annoyance, especially in relatively quiet areas with low ambient levels. As a compliment to conventional noise control at the source, addition of wanted sounds may reduce the loudness of WT noise by auditory masking. In order to test this, two masking experiments were conducted with two WT noises as target sounds and three natural sounds as maskers (wind in coniferous or deciduous trees and sea waves). In the first experiment, 30 listeners determined the detection thresholds of WT noise in the presence of the natural sounds using a threshold tracking method. In the second experiment, the same group of listeners matched the loudness of partially masked WT noise with the loudness of unmasked WT noise. The results showed that detection thresholds for WT-noise in the presence of natural sounds from trees and sea waves were around -8 to -12 dB S/N-ratio. Furthermore, a reduction of perceived loudness of WT-noise was found for S/N-ratios up to 2 dB. These results were compared with predictions from two models of partial masking (steady and time variant). In general, empirically determined detection thresholds and partial loudness matches were higher than predictions from the two models.

  • 20. Botteldooren, D
    et al.
    De Coensel, B
    De Muer, T
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Lercher, P
    Experimental investigation of noise annoyance caused by high-speed trains.2005In: ICSV 2005–Twelfth International Congress on Sound and Vibration: Paper 846, IIAV/CAPS-IST, Lissabon , 2005Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The difference in perceived noise annoyance caused by train and highway noise at the same averaged noise level, has led to the introduction of the ’railway bonus’. This bonus has found its way to the noise legislation in many countries, leading to more relaxed restrictions on time averaged noise levels, LAeq. With the introduction of high-speed trains and train-like transportation systems based on magnetic levitation, the question has risen whether the railway bonus can still be applied. The paper reports on an experiment that was conducted to answer this question. The experiment that was performed was different from previous efforts in many ways. Most importantly, the experiment was conducted in a realistic setting, a holiday cottage, and participants were asked to engage in light daily activities such as reading a magazine during the tests. Traffic noise was reproduced in an ecologically valid way, using outdoor loudspeakers. Every ten minutes the participants were asked to judge noise annoyance. At the beginning of the experiment and after about 1.5 hours the participants were also asked to rate a set of 7 master scaling sounds. After this experiment, a more conventional listening test was conducted using 45-s excerpts. The experiment was also unique in the way that 100 participants were selected to be representative for the Dutch population. The selection procedure involved careful screening based on a survey that was administered at the doorstep of 1500 persons’ homes.

  • 21. Botteldooren, Dick
    et al.
    Andringa, Tjeerd
    Aspuru, Itziar
    Brown, A. Lex
    Dubois, Danièle
    Guastavino, Catherine
    Kang, Jian
    Lavandier, Catherine
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Preis, Anna
    Schulte-Fortkamp, Brigitte
    From Sonic Environment to Soundscape2015In: Soundscape and the Built Environment / [ed] Jian Kang, Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp, Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2015, p. 17-41Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 22. Clark, C
    et al.
    Stansfeld, S
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Gunnarsson, Anita Gidlöf
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    van Kamp, I
    van Kempen, E
    Lopez Barrio, I
    Psychological restoration, coping strategies and children’s cognitive performance in the RANCH study: Paper 090.2006In: Inter-Noise 2006: Engineering a Quieter World., 2006Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The RANCH study found a linear exposure effect association between chronic aircraft noise exposure at primary school and the impairment of children’s reading comprehension, in the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. This paper presents multilevel modelling analyses, exploring psychological mechanisms, which may moderate the effect of aircraft noise on children’s cognition. Psychological restoration – the process whereby places which afford tranquillity and relaxation are utilized to reduce stress and promote well being – has been shown to reduce the adverse effect of noise on children’s annoyance responses. This paper examines whether having places for psychological restoration at home, moderates the adverse effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure at school on children’s cognition. In addition, the effectiveness of coping strategies in relation to noise exposure at school are examined – are specific coping strategies associated with less impairment of cognition?

  • 23.
    Cornell Kärnekull, Stina
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Arshamian, Artin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Radboud University, Netherlands.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Larsson, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    From Perception to Metacognition: Auditory and Olfactory Functions in Early Blind, Late Blind, and Sighted Individuals2016In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 7, article id 1450Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Although evidence is mixed, studies have shown that blind individuals perform better than sighted at specific auditory, tactile, and chemosensory tasks. However, few studies have assessed blind and sighted individuals across different sensory modalities in the same study. We tested early blind (n = 15), late blind (n = 15), and sighted (n = 30) participants with analogous olfactory and auditory tests in absolute threshold, discrimination, identification, episodic recognition, and metacognitive ability. Although the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed no overall effect of blindness and no interaction with modality, follow-up between-group contrasts indicated a blind-over-sighted advantage in auditory episodic recognition, that was most pronounced in early blind individuals. In contrast to the auditory modality, there was no empirical support for compensatory effects in any of the olfactory tasks. There was no conclusive evidence for group differences in metacognitive ability to predict episodic recognition performance. Taken together, the results showed no evidence of an overall superior performance in blind relative sighted individuals across olfactory and auditory functions, although early blind individuals exceled in episodic auditory recognition memory. This observation may be related to an experience-induced increase in auditory attentional capacity.

  • 24.
    Cornell Kärnekull, Stina
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Arshamian, Artin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Radboud University, Netherlands.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Larsson, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    The Effect of Blindness on Long-Term Episodic Memory for Odors and Sounds2018In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 9, article id 1003Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We recently showed that compared with sighted, early blind individuals have better episodic memory for environmental sounds, but not odors, after a short retention interval (similar to 8 - 9 min). Few studies have investigated potential effects of blindness on memory across long time frames, such as months or years. Consequently, it was unclear whether compensatory effects may vary as a function of retention interval. In this study, we followed-up participants (N = 57 out of 60) approximately 1 year after the initial testing and retested episodic recognition for environmental sounds and odors, and identification ability. In contrast to our previous findings, the early blind participants (n = 14) performed at a similar level as the late blind (n = 13) and sighted (n = 30) participants for sound recognition. Moreover, the groups had similar recognition performance of odors and identification ability of odors and sounds. These findings suggest that episodic odor memory is unaffected by blindness after both short and long retention intervals. However, the effect of blindness on episodic memory for sounds may vary as a function of retention interval, such that early blind individuals have an advantage over sighted across short but not long time frames. We speculate that the finding of a differential effect of blindness on auditory episodic memory across retention intervals may be related to different memory strategies at initial and follow-up assessments. In conclusion, this study suggests that blindness does not influence auditory or olfactory episodic memory as assessed after a long retention interval.

  • 25.
    Cornell Kärnekull, Stina
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Arshamian, Artin
    Willander, Johan
    Jönsson, Fredrik U.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Larsson, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    The reminiscence bump is blind to blindness: Evidence from sound- and odor-evoked autobiographical memoryManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Autobiographical memories (AMs) evoked by sensory cues, such as words, pictures, and sounds, typically form reminiscence bumps in adolescence and young adulthood. However, odors constitute an exception by shifting the bump to early childhood. Olfaction may be a “sense of first impressions”, as indicated by a unique hippocampal representation in the brain for first odor-to-object associations. However, the influence of the individual’s sensory function on AMs has never been examined. We examined the reminiscence bumps of sound- and odor-evoked memories of early-blind and sighted individuals, since blindness implies considerable changes in sensory experience. Despite such changes, the groups displayed similar age distributions of both sound- and odor-evoked memories. The auditory bump seemed to span the first two decades of life, whereas the olfactory bump was once again found in early childhood. Hence, the reminiscence bumps were robust to differences in sensory function and experience.

  • 26.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Skragge, Michael
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Döllinger, Lillian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Hovey, Daniel
    Westberg, Lars
    Larsson, Marcus
    Granqvist, Pehr
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Personality, Social and Developmental Psychology.
    Mixed support for a causal link between single dose intranasal oxytocin and spiritual experiences: opposing effects depending on individual proclivities for absorption2018In: Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, ISSN 1749-5016, E-ISSN 1749-5024, Vol. 13, no 9, p. 921-932Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Intranasal oxytocin (OT) has previously been found to increase spirituality, an effect moderated by OT-related genotypes. This pre-registered study sought to conceptually replicate and extend those findings. Using a single dose of intranasal OT vs placebo (PL), we investigated experimental treatment effects, and moderation by OT-related genotypes on spirituality, mystical experiences, and the sensed presence of a sentient being. A more exploratory aim was to test for interactions between treatment and the personality disposition absorption on these spirituality-related outcomes. A priming plus sensory deprivation procedure that has facilitated spiritual experiences in previous studies was used. The sample (N = 116) contained both sexes and was drawn from a relatively secular context. Results failed to conceptually replicate both the main effects of treatment and the treatment by genotype interactions on spirituality. Similarly, there were no such effects on mystical experiences or sensed presence. However, the data suggested an interaction between treatment and absorption. Relative to PL, OT seemed to enhance spiritual experiences in participants scoring low in absorption and dampen spirituality in participants scoring high in absorption.

  • 27.
    De Coensel, B.
    et al.
    University of California, Berkeley.
    Botteldooren, Dick
    Ghent University.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    A computational model for auditory saliency of environmental sound2009In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 125, no 4 (part2), p. 2528-2528Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Because the information flow received by the human auditory system exceeds the processing capacity of the brain, neural mechanisms engage and guide attention toward prominent parts of the auditory scene. Several computational models for auditory saliency have been proposed recently. Most of these are concerned with speech recognition, and therefore apply high temporal and spectral precision to relatively short sound fragments. Here, a simplified model is described that specifically targets the long exposure times usually considered in soundscape research. The model trades temporal and spectra accuracy for computational speed, but nevertheless implements the key elements that are present in the calculation of complex auditory saliency maps. A simplified “cochleagram” is calculated from the 1/3-octave band spectrogram using the Zwicker model for specific loudness. Saliency is determined based on spectro-temporal irregularities, extracted in parallel at different feature scales, using a center-surround mechanism. Finally, conspicuous peaks are selected using within-feature and between-feature competitions. The model is shown to behave as expected for a number of typical sounds. As an illustration, saliency calculation results for a set of recordings in urban parks are compared with other acoustical descriptors and with perceptual attribute scales from questionnaire studies.

  • 28.
    De Coensel, Bert
    et al.
    University of California, Berkeley, USA.
    Botteldooren, Dick
    Ghent University, Belgien.
    De Muer, Tom
    Ghent University, Belgien.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Gösta Ekman Laboratory for Sensory Research, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Gösta Ekman Laboratory for Sensory Research, Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Lercher, Peter
    Medical University Innsbruck, Österrike.
    A model for the perception of environmental sound based on notice-events2009In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 126, no 2, p. 656-665Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Anapproach is proposed to shed light on the mechanisms underlyinghuman perception of environmental sound that intrudes in everyday living.Most research on exposure-effect relationships aims at relating overall effectsto overall exposure indicators in an epidemiological fashion, without includingavailable knowledge on the possible underlying mechanisms. Here, it isproposed to start from available knowledge on audition and perceptionto construct a computational framework for the effect of environmentalsound on individuals. Obviously, at the individual level additional mechanisms(inter-sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional) play a role in the perceptionof environmental sound. As a first step, current knowledge ismade explicit by building a model mimicking some aspects ofhuman auditory perception. This model is grounded in the hypothesisthat long-term perception of environmental sound is determined primarily byshort notice-events. The applicability of the notice-event model is illustratedby simulating a synthetic population exposed to typical Flemish environmentalnoise. From these simulation results, it is demonstrated that thenotice-event model is able to mimic the differences between theannoyance caused by road traffic noise exposure and railway trafficnoise exposure that are also observed empirically in other studiesand thus could provide an explanation for these differences.

  • 29. De Coensel, Bert
    et al.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Brown, A. L.
    Perceptual constancy in auditory perception of distance to railway tracks2013In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 134, no 1, p. 474-480Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Distance to a sound source can be accurately estimated solely from auditory information. With a sound source such as a train that is passing by at a relatively large distance, the most important auditory information for the listener for estimating its distance consists of the intensity of the sound, spectral changes in the sound caused by air absorption, and the motion-induced rate of change of intensity. However, these cues are relative because prior information/experience of the sound source-its source power, its spectrum and the typical speed at which it moves-is required for such distance estimates. This paper describes two listening experiments that allow investigation of further prior contextual information taken into account by listeners-viz., whether they are indoors or outdoors. Asked to estimate the distance to the track of a railway, it is shown that listeners assessing sounds heard inside the dwelling based their distance estimates on the expected train passby sound level outdoors rather than on the passby sound level actually experienced indoors. This form of perceptual constancy may have consequences for the assessment of annoyance caused by railway noise.

  • 30. Emardson, Ragne
    et al.
    Pendrill, Leslie
    Sundling, Catherine
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Measurements of accessibility to rail transport systems2011In: International Conference of Advanced Mathematical and Computational Tools in Metrology and Testing (AMCTM), 2011Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Improving accessibility to railway systems for persons with disabilities is a governmental assignment to the Swedish Transport Administration. A main issue is to develop quality assured measurement of accessibility. Apart from the accessibility definition, our research focus is on the validity of the measurements and measurement uncertainty. By defining an accessibility measure that is multiplicative, we obtain a measure that represents the different barriers persons can face when travelling.

  • 31. Eriksson, Charlotta
    et al.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Stenkvist, Dag
    Bellander, Tom
    Pershagen, Göran
    Residential traffic noise exposure assessment: application and evaluation of European Environmental Noise Directive maps2013In: Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, ISSN 1559-0631, E-ISSN 1559-064X, Vol. 23, no 5, p. 531-538Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Digital noise maps produced according to the European Environmental Noise Directive (END) could provide valuable exposure information in noise and health research. However, their usefulness in epidemiological studies has not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to apply and evaluate Swedish END maps for assessments of residential traffic noise exposure. END maps from three Swedish cities were used to assess residential traffic noise exposure for a population sample of 2496 men and women included in a national Environmental Health Survey. For each subject, we assessed noise levels manually and automatically at three geographical points, using survey data to locate dwellings within buildings. Cohen's kappa coefficient (kappa) was used to assess agreement between the noise estimates. To evaluate the maps, we compared the observed and predicted proportions of annoyed residents as a function of noise exposure using survey data and already established exposure-response relationships. The root mean square deviation (r.m.s.) was used to assess the precision of observed estimates. The agreement between the noise estimates ranged from kappa = 0.4 to 0.8. Generally, there was a high correspondence between observed and predicted exposure-response relationships for noise annoyance, regardless of method and if data on dwelling location within building were used. The best precision was, however, found when we manually corrected the noise level according to the location of the dwelling within buildings (r.m.s. = 0.029). Noise maps based on the END appear useful for assessing residential traffic noise exposure, particularly if combined with survey data on dwelling location.

  • 32. Hellström, Björn
    et al.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Axelsson, Östen
    Lundén, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    ACOUSTIC DESIGN ARTIFACTS AND METHODS FOR URBAN SOUNDSCAPES: A CASE STUDY ON THE QUALITATIVE DIMENSIONS OF SOUNDS2014In: Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, ISSN 0738-0895, Vol. 31, no 1, p. 57-71Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The amount of noise in urban settings is steadily on the rise, creating a potential health hazard and causing a general nuisance. In major European cities, noise levels are so high that the majority of urban parks can no longer truly serve as recreational environments, a problem the World Health Organization and the European Union are attempting to address. This study explores various strategies that promote the sustainable development of urban soundscapes at locations meant for rest, recreation, and social interaction. Further, we look at how people are affected by the combined effects of traffic and nature sounds in parks and other outdoor settings. To this end, we adopted a new track the use of interdisciplinary methodology that brings together architectural analysis, artistic experiments, and psychoacoustic methodology to evaluate the aesthetic, emotional, perceptual, and spatial effects of noise on subjects spending time in public open-air spaces. We conducted a large-scale case study at a city park to explore whether subjects were affected by purposely distributed sounds and, if so, how The working hypothesis was that it is possible to cancel out or mute traffic noise by affecting individuals' aural perceptions using a process known as informational masking. Our long-term objective is to create a scientific foundation for action plans, both preemptive and troubleshooting, targeting noise reduction in parks' and similar public spaces that are meant to provide a relaxing environment.

  • 33. Keus van de Poll, Marijke
    et al.
    Sjödin, Louise
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Disruption of writing by background speech: Does sound source location and number of voices matter?2019In: Applied Cognitive Psychology, ISSN 0888-4080, E-ISSN 1099-0720, Vol. 33, no 4, p. 537-543Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is not unusual that people have to write in an environment where background speech is present. Background speech can vary in both speech intelligibility and location of the sound source. Earlier research has shown disruptive effects of background speech on writing performance. To expand and reinforce this knowledge, the present study investigated the role of number of voices and sound source location in the relation between background speech and writing performance. Participants wrote texts in quiet or in background speech consisting of one or seven voices talking simultaneously located in front of or behind them. Overall, one voice was more disruptive than seven voices talking simultaneously. Self-reports showed that sound from the front was more disruptive compared with sound from behind. Results are in line with theory of interference-by-process, attentional capture, and the cross-modal theory of attention. The relevance of the results for open-office environments is discussed.

  • 34.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    A method for stimulus selection in environmental psychoacoustics.2005In: Archives of Acoustics, Vol. 30, no 4, p. 169-172Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In environmental psychoacoustics, experimental sounds are taken from recordings of real-life situations. This makes stimulus selection an important element of experimental design. For example, the sound level of road-traffic noise close to a major road may vary considerably depending on the number of vehicles that passes by. Thus, a psychoacoustical evaluation of the loudness or annoyance of the road-traffic noise would depend on which samples of the noise were presented in a listening experiment. Therefore, a method was developed for representative selection of experimental sounds from recordings in real-life situations. The method has been applied in research on auditory change caused by noise mitigation and in research on psychophysical relationships for loudness of road-traffic noise. It is argued that for many psychoacoustical problems, the ecological validity gained by representative selection outweighs the loss in internal validity caused by the reduced control of specific acoustical variables of the experimental sounds.

  • 35.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Learning to extract a large inter-aural level difference in lag clicks2018In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, E-ISSN 1520-8524, Vol. 143, no 6, p. EL456-EL462Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many blind people learn to use sound reflections to localize objects. However, precedence-effect research has reported evidence both for and against the possibility to improve lateralization of lag clicks preceded by lead clicks. This training study used stimuli more relevant to human echolocation than did previous training studies. One participant, the author, practiced lateralizing a lag-click inter-aural level difference (ILD) of 10 dB for 60 days, with performance measured in the lag-lead peak amplitude ratio at threshold. Clear improvements were observed at interclick intervals of 2-18 ms, suggesting that extracting a large lag-click ILD may improve with practice.

  • 36.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Traffic noise is a threat to outdoor recreation in urban areas.2006In: Abstract Guide of the 26th International Congress in Applied Psychology.: Athens: International Association of Applied Psychology, 2006., 2006, p. Abstract S125.4-Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Current noise policy focuses on reducing high levels of community noise in dwellings, primarily with measures designed to reduce indoor levels. For example, one of Sweden’s environmental objectives is to reduce the number of persons highly exposed to traffic noise in dwellings by 5 % from 1998 to 2010. In the same period, car use is expected to increase with 29 %. This development is a threat to outdoor recreation in urban areas, because there is a real danger that in striving to reduce residential noise exposure, the sound environment in non-residential areas will be sacrificed. Unfortunately, guideline values for noise exposure in such areas, e.g., urban parks and green open spaces, are missing, mainly due to lack of knowledge on what makes a sound environment pleasant and restorative. Existing guideline values for residential areas are not relevant, because they are only intended for limiting negative effects of noise, such as annoyance and sleep disturbance, not for creating positive sound environments. This paper presents results from recent research on positive sound environments, and discusses the potential implications for noise policy.

  • 37.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Alvarsson, Jesper
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rådsten-Ekman, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Bolin, Karl
    Auditory masking of wanted and unwanted sounds in a city park2010In: Noise Control Engineering Journal, ISSN 0736-2501, E-ISSN 2168-8710, Vol. 58, no 5, p. 524-531Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Auditory masking of unwanted sounds by wanted sounds has been suggested as a tool for outdoor acoustic design. Anecdotal evidence exists for successful applications, for instance the use of fountain sounds for masking road traffic noise in urban parks. However, basic research on auditory masking of environmental sounds is lacking. Therefore, we conducted two listening experiments, using binaural recordings from a city park in Stockholm exposed to traffic noise from a main road and sound from a large fountain located in the center of the park. In the first experiment, 17 listeners assessed the loudness of the road traffic noise and fountain sounds from recordings at various distances from the road, with or without the fountain turned on. In the second experiment, 16 listeners assessed the loudness of systematic combinations of a singular fountain sound and a singular road traffic noise. The results of the first experiment showed that the fountain sound reduced the loudness of road traffic noise close to the fountain, and that the fountain sound was equally loud or louder than the road traffic noise in a region 20-30 m around the fountain. This suggests that the fountain added to the quality of the city park soundscape by reducing the loudness of the (presumably unwanted) traffic noise. On the other hand, results from the second experiment showed that road traffic noise was harder to mask than fountain sound, and that the partial loudness of both sources was considerably less than expected from a model of energetic masking. This indicates that auditory processes, possibly related to target-masker confusion, may reduce the overall masking effect of environmental sounds.

  • 38.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Andéhn, Mikael
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Lesna, Paulina
    Evaluating roadside noise barriers using an annoyance-reduction criterion2008In: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, Vol. 124, no 6, p. 3561-3567Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A common indicator of effectiveness for roadside noise barriers is the reduction in A-weighted sound pressure level (LA). The present experimental study considered alternative indicators using an annoyance reduction criterion. A large number of 8-s experimental sounds were created from binaural recordings conducted at various distances from a highway, at a location with a 4.6 m high roadside barrier (barrier sounds) and at a location along the same road with no barrier (non-barrier sounds). Eighteen listeners scaled the annoyance of the experimental sounds with the method of magnitude estimation. The barrier sounds, recorded 10-45 m from the road, and non-barrier sounds recorded 50-200 m from the road were of similar LA. Despite this, the barrier sounds were found to be substantially more annoying than the non-barrier sounds. The annoyance-difference corresponded to approximately a 3-dB increase in LA, and was mainly related to the barrier sounds’ higher relative level of low-frequency sound. This suggests that LA-reduction may not be a valid indicator of the annoyance reduction caused by a noise barrier. The Loudness level (ISO 532B) and a low-frequency corrected sound pressure level (L*A) were found to be better than LA as indicators of the barrier’s annoyance-reduction efficiency.

  • 39.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Bengtsson, JörgenKlaeboe, Ronny
    Environmental Methods for Transport Noise Reduction2014Collection (editor) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Presents Evidence-Based Guidance on Noise Abatement Methods

    Solutions for reducing the noise impact of road and rail traffic can be found in the use of natural elements in combination with artificial elements in urban and rural environments. Ground and road surface treatments; trees, forests, and tall vegetation; and the greening of buildings and other surfaces can contribute to powerful and cost-effective noise reduction. Environmental Methods for Transport Noise Reduction presents the main findings of the Holistic and Sustainable Abatement of Noise by optimized combinations of Natural and Artificial means (HOSANNA) research project. This project involved experts from seven countries, and assessed noise reduction in terms of sound level reductions, perceptual effects, and cost–benefit analysis. It considered a number of green abatement strategies, and aimed to develop a toolbox for reducing road and rail traffic noise in outdoor environments.

    Combines Theory with Practice

    Broad in both theory and application and based on leading-edge research, the book brings together the findings and their practical use. It details assessment methods for perceived noise, and outlines noise prediction methods that can be integrated with noise mapping software. It also explores the economic benefits and positive effects on urban air quality and CO2 levels.

    The material is this book:

    • Includes up-to-date results on noise mitigation using vegetation and ground treatments
    • Contains relevant results on innovative noise barrier designs
    • Presents data on acoustic performance of vegetation and soil substratum
    • Provides perceptual and cost–benefit analyses of noise mitigation methods

    Environmental Methods for Transport Noise Reduction is a helpful guide for noise consultants, city planners, architects, landscape architects, and researchers.

  • 40.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Assessment of outdoor soundscapes in quiet areas.2005In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 117, no 4, p. 2592-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Existing quiet outdoor areas should be preserved. Appropriate indicators and limit values are needed, which are grounded in knowledge on positive aspects of soundscapes, such as perceived pleasantness and psychological restoration. For this reason, a questionnaire study was conducted in four green areas close to a major city and in four city parks. Measured equivalent sound levels (LAeq. 15 min) ranged between 42 and 50 dBA in the green areas, and between 49 and 60 dBA in the city parks. Sounds from nature, such as bird song, completely dominated the soundscape in the green areas. The city-park soundscapes were more complex, containing sounds from nature, as well as technological sounds (e.g., traffic noise), and human sounds (e.g., human voices). In general, sounds from nature were perceived as pleasant, technical sounds as annoying, and human sounds as neutral. Between 84 and 100% of the visitors in the green areas assessed the soundscapes as good or very good. The corresponding percentages for the city parks were distinctly lower, between 52 and 65%. The results indicate that the equivalent sound level should be below 50 dBA in order to secure pleasant and restorative outdoor soundscapes in urban areas.

  • 41.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Noise annoyance and activity disturbance before and after the erection of a roadside noise barrier.2006In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, ISSN 0001-4966, Vol. 119, no 4, p. 2178-2188Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Questionnaire studies were conducted in a residential area before and after the erection of a 2.25 m high noise barrier of conventional type along a heavily traveled road (19 600 vehicles/24 h). The interval between studies was two years. Houses closest to the barrier received a sound-level reduction from ~70.0 to 62.5 dB Lden at the most exposed facade. The sound-level reduction decreased with distance to the road, and was negligible for houses at more than 100 m distance. Up to this distance, the noise barrier reduced residents’ noise annoyance outdoors and indoors as well as improved speech communication outdoors. Indoors, speech communication and sleep disturbance were slightly but nonsignificantly improved.

  • 42.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Noise-mitigation efficiency of barriers.2006In: Inter-Noise 2006–Engineering a Quieter World., 2006, p. Paper 386-Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    To create acceptable sound environments in residential areas along heavily traveled main roads and railways, a common procedure is to build noise barriers. Noise barriers reduce residents’ noise annoyance. However, the extent of annoyance-reduction may not be predictable from the corresponding reduction in A-weighted sound level. One reason for this is that noise barriers not only reduce the sound level, they also change the character of the noise, which may influence perceived annoyance. It is therefore a need for psychophysical research on the effect of noise mitigation on perceived annoyance. Two experiments were conducted, involving road-traffic and railway noise recorded with or without the influence of noise barriers. A linear function described fairly well the relationship between A-weighted sound level and perceived annoyance. However, road-traffic noise recorded behind one barrier was found to be more annoying than predicted from the linear function. Zwicker Loudness level was found to be a better indicator of perceived annoyance than A-weighted sound level. This was especially true for sounds with relatively large proportion of low-frequency content. This is relevant for noise barriers, which always reduce high frequencies more than low frequencies and, thereby, increase the relative proportion of low-frequency content.

  • 43.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Soundscape quality in suburban green areas and city parks.2006In: Acta Acustica united with Acustica, ISSN 1610-1928, Vol. 92, no 6, p. 903-911Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    According to guidelines proposed in Sweden, at least 80% of the visitors in quiet areas should perceive the sound environment as good. This was the starting point for a questionnaire study on “soundscape quality” in four suburban green areas and in four city parks. The soundscapes in the suburban areas were completely dominated by sounds from nature (e.g., bird song and sounds from water), whereas traffic noise was a main component of the city-park soundscapes. Measured equivalent sound levels (from all sources) ranged from 42 to 50 dBA in the suburban green areas, and from 49 to 60 dBA in the city parks (LAeq,15min). “Soundscape quality” was assessed by a five-point bipolar category scale. Among the respondents, 84-100% in the suburban green areas and 53-65% in the city parks assessed the soundscape as “Good” or “Very good”. Thus, all suburban green areas but none of the city parks reached the stipulated goal (at least 80%). The soundscape quality was confirmed by attribute profiling using a set of 12 adjectives. Based on the visitor’s responses, it is concluded that good soundscape quality can only be achieved if the traffic noise exposure in suburban green areas and city parks during day time is below 50 dBA.

  • 44.
    Nilsson, Mats E
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Soundscapes in city parks and suburban green areas.2006In: EuroNoise 2006: Advanced Solutions for Noise Control., 2006, p. Paper SS25-349Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    According to guidelines proposed in Sweden, at least 80% of visitors in quiet areas should perceive the sound environment as good. This was the starting point for a questionnaire study conducted in four suburban green areas and in four city parks. The soundscape in the suburban areas was completely dominated by sounds from nature (e.g., bird song and sounds from water), whereas traffic noise was a main component of the city-park soundscapes. Measured equivalent sound levels (from all sources) ranged from 42 to 50 dBA in the suburban green areas, and from 49 to 60 dBA in the city parks. Between 84 and 100 % of the respondents in the suburban green areas and between 53 and 65 % of the respondents in the city parks assessed the soundscapes as “Good” or “Very good”. Thus, all the suburban green areas and none of the city parks reached the stipulated goal (at least 80%). Taken together, the results suggest that a good urban outdoor soundscape should (a) be dominated by positive sounds from nature, and (b) have an overall equivalent sound level below 50 dBA.

  • 45.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Botteldooren, Dick
    Jeon, Jin Yong
    Rådsten Ekman, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    De Coensel, Bert
    Joo, Young Hong
    Maillard, Julien
    Vincent, Bruno
    Perceptual effects of noise mitigation2014In: Environmental Methods for Transport Noise Reduction / [ed] Mats E. Nilsson, Jörgen Bengtsson, Ronny Klæboe, CRC Press, 2014, p. 195-219Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Noise mitigation reduces the audibility of a noise source at the location of the receiver, making the source less annoying and less likely to interfere with activities, such as sleep, rest, and speech. Many mitigation methods change temporal and spectral properties of noise, which may influence perceived annoyance, over and above the effect related to the overall reduction in A-weighted sound pressure level. Noise reduction also may increase the noticeability of other sources, which may influence the perception of the overall acoustic environment. Finally, well-designed noise mitigation solutions may improve the visual environment, e.g., a vegetated noise barrier or earth berm can visually shield the traffic and increase the amount of visible greenery. This chapter provides examples of such perceptual effects of noise mitigation, from effects on perception of the noise itself, via effects on the soundscape, to potential effects on the overall audio-visual environment.

  • 46.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Eriksson, Charlotta
    Selander, Jenny
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Buller2013In: Miljöhälsorapport 2013 / [ed] Karolinska institutet. Institutet för miljömedicin, Stockholm: Institutet för miljömedicin, Karolinska institutet , 2013, p. 179-194Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Barns besvär av buller, främst i skolmiljön, har ökat kraftigt. Andelen barn som besväras av ljud från andra barn i skolmiljön har ökat från 18 procent 2003 till 31 procent 2011. Buller under lektionerna kan ha effekter på inlärningen genom att försvåra talförståelse och minnesprocessande. Även omgivningsbuller från till exempel trafik ökar i barns omgivningar och nya lägenheter i stadsmiljö byggs allt oftare i bullerutsatta lägen. I dag bor cirka 11 procent av barnen i bostäder som har något fönster mot en större gata och drygt 4 procent har sitt eget sovrumsfönster vänt mot en sådan gata.

  • 47.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Jeon, J.Y.
    Rådsten-Ekman, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Axelsson, Östen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hong, J.Y.
    Jang, H.S.
    A soundwalk study on the relationship between soundscape and overall quality of urban outdoor places2012In: Acoustics 2012, Hong Kong, Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Institute of Acoustics (HKIOA) , 2012Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In a field study we explored the relationship between the soundscape and the overall quality (good - bad) of outdoor open places. Thirty three residents in down town Stockholm participated in soundwalks near their homes. Along the soundwalk route the participants assessed six places with respect to the soundscape the visual environment and the overall quality of the place using a questionnaire. The six locations were preselected to vary in acoustic and visual quality. A regression model with pleasantness of the auditory and visual environment as predictors explained a substantial part of the variance in assessments of the six place's overall quality. To disentangle the specific effects of auditory and visual aspects the present study will be complemented with laboratory experiments in which visual and auditory aspects are independently manipulated.

  • 48.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rådsten-Ekman, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Alvarsson, Jesper
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Lundén, P.
    Forssén, J.
    Perceptual validation of auralized road traffic noise2011In: Proceedings of Inter-Noise 2011, Osaka, Japan: The Institute of Noise Control Engineering of Japan and the Acoustical Society of Japan , 2011Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Auralization of road-traffic noise may be a useful tool for city planning, for instance as a support to decisions regarding noise mitigation. However, to be useful, the auralizations need to be perceptually valid. That is, the auralized sounds should be perceptually indistinguishable from real sounds or, at least, similar with respect to perceptual factors crucial for correct decisions. For this reason, the auralization methodology developed in the Swedish LISTEN-project was perceptually evaluated. In four listening experiments, listeners assessed recordings and auralizations of the same car passages. Although real and auralized sounds were not completely indistinguishable, perfect discrimination was not possible. Moreover, good agreements between auralized and real sounds were found for perceived similarity, perceived annoyance and perceived speed. The results illustrate the usefulness of psychoacoustic methods and multivariate statistics for perceptual evaluation of auralizations and provide support for the validity of the LISTEN-approach to auralization.

  • 49.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Schenkman, Bo N.
    Blind people are more sensitive than sighted people to binaural sound-location cues, particularly inter-aural level differences2016In: Hearing Research, ISSN 0378-5955, E-ISSN 1878-5891, Vol. 332, p. 223-232Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Blind people use auditory information to locate sound sources and sound-reflecting objects (echolocation). Sound source localization benefits from the hearing system's ability to suppress distracting sound reflections, whereas echolocation would benefit from “unsuppressing” these reflections. To clarify how these potentially conflicting aspects of spatial hearing interact in blind versus sighted listeners, we measured discrimination thresholds for two binaural location cues: inter-aural level differences (ILDs) and inter-aural time differences (ITDs). The ILDs or ITDs were present in single clicks, in the leading component of click pairs, or in the lagging component of click pairs, exploiting processes related to both sound source localization and echolocation. We tested 23 blind (mean age = 54 y), 23 sighted-age-matched (mean age = 54 y), and 42 sighted-young (mean age = 26 y) listeners. The results suggested greater ILD sensitivity for blind than for sighted listeners. The blind group's superiority was particularly evident for ILD-lag-click discrimination, suggesting not only enhanced ILD sensitivity in general but also increased ability to unsuppress lagging clicks. This may be related to the blind person's experience of localizing reflected sounds, for which ILDs may be more efficient than ITDs. On the ITD-discrimination tasks, the blind listeners performed better than the sighted age-matched listeners, but not better than the sighted young listeners. ITD sensitivity declines with age, and the equal performance of the blind listeners compared to a group of substantially younger listeners is consistent with the notion that blind people's experience may offset age-related decline in ITD sensitivity.

  • 50.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sverige.
    Selander, Jenny
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sverige.
    Alvarsson, Jesper
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Bluhm, Gösta
    Berglund, Birgitta
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sverige.
    Flygbuller på uteplats: besvärsupplevelser och hälsa i relation till maximalnivå och antal flygbullerhändelser2013Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Forskningsprogrammet MAXFLYG har undersökt hur vi störs av flygbuller på uteplats i anslutning till bostäder och hälsoeffekter som bullret orsakar. Programmet har bland annat studerat bullerstörning i relation till bullernivåer och i relation till antal flyghändelser, samt undersökt effekter av flygbuller på stressnivåer och sömnsvårigheter.

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