The Sound of Tranquillity: A Study on Soundscapes, Visuals, and Youth Wellbeing

The expert team here at Cirrus Research have recently carried out what could be our most captivating research to date. Elements of this research, which explores how different audiovisual stimuli can help foster tranquillity amongst young people, will be presented live at Internoise 2023 in Tokyo, and Forum Acusticum in Torino this year! Now that’s something to shout about!

Throughout this research, which was conducted with our fantastic partners at The Warren Youth Project, the young people were able to discover and help to create audiovisual indoor environments to facilitate the measurement the prediction of the perception of tranquillity for indoor spaces.

Findings from our research

It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that the gentle patter of rain is soothing. But here’s the interesting part, when other more prominent sounds are audible within the soundscape, the calming effect of the rain is diminished. And when we tested water sounds without any visual context they were nowhere near as effective as when they were presented with a complimentary visual.

This intriguing interplay between audiovisual elements extended to other natural sounds, such as the rustling of leaves, but interestingly, not to birdsong!

After immersing ourselves in these soundscapes, we found that a visual of a park paired with the sounds of rustling trees and birdsong took the tranquillity crown with an impressive rating of 8.88 out of 10! Now that’s a playlist for calm!

Outcome of observations

Last year, our Embedded Software Lead, James Oatley, played a leading role in the adaptation of Bradford Universities Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool (TRAPT) for indoor spaces in youth centres. This year’s research has provided the predictive tool with several new parameters in attempt to provide a fully-fledged tool for indoor youth centres.

James will be sharing more on this at Internoise and Forum Acusticum, but he’s keen to highlight that these new interplays between various parameters for the tools have intriguing cross-dependencies and warrant further exploration before being used broadly.

Here at Cirrus Research, we’re continually learning, evolving and pushing the boundaries of our understanding. This research has underlined just how powerful sound and visuals can be when it comes to creating tranquil spaces, particularly for younger people.

As we gear up for InterNoise 2023, we’re thrilled to share our findings and learn from other pioneers in the field.