Effect of Environmental Stimulation on Stress Recovery
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Previous research has demonstrated that the urban environment can increase stress whereas the natural environment can aid stress restoration. Sounds of nature have been found to reduce stress in contrast to anthropogenic sound that can increase stress. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of natural and urban sounds on stress restoration, using birdsong and birdsong interrupted by traffic noise. A speeded arithmetic task was used to induce stress in participants. Electrodermal activity was recorded as a physiological measure of stress and a visual analogue scale was utilised to provide a self-report measure of stress. It was predicted that birdsong would cause greater stress restoration than birdsong interrupted by traffic noise. No significant interaction was found between the groups for electrodermal activity. A significant difference was found for self-reported stress; birdsong reduced stress significantly more than birdsong interrupted by traffic noise. The findings suggest disparity between physiological and self-report stress, future research should seek to address this.
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