New paper: Bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery

Eleanor Ratcliffe, Dr Birgitta Gatersleben and Dr Paul Sowden have a new paper published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology examining bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery.

Eleanor summed up the paper by saying:

Visual experience of nature is usually perceived as restorative following stress and attention fatigue. Studies extending these findings to natural sounds often include birdsong, but little is known about restorative perceptions of bird sounds on their own. We explored reasons for any restorative perceptions of bird sounds through thematic analysis of twenty interview transcripts. We found that these perceptions varied between bird species and between participants, according to three main themes: affective or emotional appraisals of the sounds; cognitive appraisals; and relationships to nature. Our study suggests that bird sounds may contribute to people’s perceptions of emotional and cognitive restoration in natural settings.
Eleanor is a third year PhD student exploring how natural sounds can improve mood and attention after stress or fatigue. Dr Gatersleben is a Senior Lecturer and MSc Environmental Psychology Course Director. Dr Sowden is a Reader and Director of Illume; the Faculty Centre for Creativity Research.
This research was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, the National Trust, and the Surrey Wildlife Trust.
Ratcliffe, E., Gatersleben, B., & Sowden, P. T. (2013). Bird sounds and their contributions to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36, 221-228.