DATA: Nature and the City: audiovisual interactions in pleasantness and psychophysiological reactions
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Description: Our project provides novel insight into the role of arousal, emotional valence and attention in perception of natural soundscapes and landscapes and audiovisual interactions in the urban environment. In our study we used pleasantness judgments and psychophysiological measurements, such as heart rate, electromyography and eye-tracking (gaze fixations, saccades and pupil size). We demonstrated the audiovisual interactions in perception of urban environments as a function of the presence of natural elements. In two independent groups of 30 and 31 participants we demonstrated that pleasantness of auditory samples was improved by the vegetated urban visual context and the visual pleasantness is greater when observation accompanied by the bird singing. At the level of psychophysiology, the natural sounds reduced electromyographic activity and heart rate, natural images decelerated gaze behavior. The pupil was constricted by all the natural stimuli and, moreover discriminated the unpleasantness of traffic noise samples. This suggests an important role of arousal level in moderating urban nature-related audiovisual interactions. The manuscript concerning these findings has recently been accepted for publication in applied acoustics.