New study confirms: Chirping works
A study by the University of Exeter concludes that nature sounds have a positive effect on our mental health. Data from over 7,500 people were collected as part of the BBC’s “Forest 404” programme. The result: birdsong is particularly good at relieving stress and preventing mental fatigue. We present the most important facts.
In the current study, a selection of nature sounds was played to the test persons. They came from the categories of forests, coastal areas, rural regions and underwater. Each sound was rated according to its ability to relieve stress and fatigue. The best ratings were given to the sounds of nature in the forests. Above all, the chirping of birds. They are particularly well suited to intuitively relax us and have a refreshing effect.
Birdsong is particularly relaxing
The chirping of exotic birds from the rainforest offers the greatest potential for relaxation. The song of native songbirds came in second. The researchers played the song of the blackbird, whose chirping was also found to be very relaxing. This was followed by nature sounds from the beach, then sounds from the countryside and finally underwater sounds. It is important that the animal voices are authentically embedded in their natural environment in order to work well.
Tweeting strengthens environmental awareness
Experiencing the positive sound effects contributed to a better understanding of natural sounds. In addition to the positive effects on their well-being, the test persons were also asked to indicate how high their motivation was to protect the natural environment from which the sounds originate. The higher the effect, the higher the willingness to protect the environment. Here, too, the rainforest was in the lead, followed by native forests, the coast, the sea and rural areas. The effect of nature sounds thus increases well-being and at the same time environmental awareness.
More intensive use of sound effects
One of the recommendations of the study is to make better use of the proven effects of nature sounds. One possibility is to set up public nature zones where sounds are consciously used to relax and recharge one’s batteries. Biophony, i.e. the acoustics of a natural environment, should in future serve as an indicator of the health of the ecosystem. The more diverse the natural sounds, the more vital it is, and the more diverse the effects. Thus, Biophony should also be used to make urban living spaces more liveable for all. In addition to visual aspects, more acoustic aspects should be considered in public spaces.
Strengthening the connection to nature again
The University of Exeter study is part of the award-winning BBC series “Forest 404”, which combines factual, fictional and experimental elements in an interdisciplinary way. In this way, it makes scientific findings accessible to a broad audience. One of the creators’ goals is to strengthen people’s connection to nature again in our highly mechanised world. For the all too human reason: because we best protect what we know and love.
Curious about more details? You can access the complete study via the link below.
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