Research has shown the existence of perceptual and neural bias toward sounds perceived as sources approaching versus receding a listener. It has been suggested that a greater biological salience of approaching auditory sources may account for these effects. In addition, these effects may hold only for those sources critical for our survival. In the present study, we bring support to these hypotheses by quantifying the emotional responses to different sounds with changing intensity patterns. In 2 experiments, participants were exposed to artificial and natural sounds simulating approaching or receding sources. The auditory-induced emotional effect was reflected in the performance of participants in an emotion-related behavioral task, their self-reported emotional experience, and their physiology (electrodermal activity and facial electromyography). The results of this study suggest that approaching unpleasant sound sources evoke more intense emotional responses in listeners than receding ones, whereas such an effect of perceived sound motion does not exist for pleasant or neutral sound sources. The emotional significance attributed to the sound source itself, the loudness of the sound, and loudness change duration seem to be relevant factors in this disparity.
Copyright 2010 APA, all rights reserved.