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Ratcliffe’s work confirms the value of nature soundtracks in particular contexts. She determined via a literature review that “nature is broadly characterized by the sounds of birdsong, wind, and water, and these sounds can enhance positive perceptions of natural environments presented through visual means. Second, isolated from other sensory modalities these sounds are often, although not always, positively affectively appraised and perceived as restorative. Third, after stress and/or fatigue nature sounds and soundscapes can lead to subjectively and objectively improved mood and cognitive performance, as well as reductions in arousal. . . . not all nature sounds are regarded equally positively. . . . [for example] Bradley and Lang (2007) measured 167 sounds. . . . Some natural sounds, such as water and birds, scored relatively high on pleasure while others, such as growling, were rated as less pleasant. . . . . Hedblom et al. (2014) observed that combinations of bird sounds were rated as more pleasant than the sounds of a single species.”
Eleanor Ratcliffe. 2021. “Sound and Soundscape in Restorative Natural Environments: A Narrative Literature Review.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, 570563, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.570563
De Groot evaluated how in-store scents influence shopping behavior. He determined via data collected in “a second-hand clothing store [where study participants] could face one of three conditions: fresh linen scent (pleasant and semantically priming ‘clean clothing’ increasing the products' value), vanilla sandalwood scent (pleasant control odor), or regular store odor (odorless control). . . . . that fresh linen scent almost doubled consumer spending vs. the odorless control and the pleasant control odor. Other factors potentially affecting consumer behavior (e.g., weekday, weather, odor awareness) were uncorrelated. . . . only fresh linen scent increased mood and evaluations of the store, staff, and products. . . . consumers are no “zombies” that empty their pockets in the presence of whatever odor; the smell needs to have a meaningful link to the (sustainable) context at hand to influence consumer behavior.”
Jasper de Groot. 2021. “Smells in Sustainable Environments: The Scented Silk Road to Spending.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, 718279, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.718279
Hornstein, Fanselow, and Eisenberger studied links between feeling something warm and perceptions of safety. They learned that “a physically warm stimulus was less readily associated with threat (compared to soft or neutral stimuli; Study 1) and was able to inhibit the fear response elicited by other threatening cues (compared to neutral stimuli; Study 2). Results showed that physical warmth resisted association with threat (Study 1) and not only inhibited the fear response but also led to lasting inhibition even after the warm stimulus was removed (Study 2).” In the warmth condition, an activated warm pack was placed in the study participant’s right hand.
E. Hornstein, M. Fanselow, and N. Eisenberger. “Warm Hands, Warm Hearts: An Investigation of Physical Warmth as a Prepared Safety Stimulus.” Emotion, in press, https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000925