Study latest

We’re exploring how people respond to the sounds of nature.

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Beginning with listening

In the push to maximise recent advances in VR technology, developers and researchers have tended to focus on immersive visual experiences.

Yet we know that the sounds of nature also have the potential to improve people’s wellbeing, and that the sonic environment of the natural world is preferred to listening to other kinds of sounds.

However, so far there hasn’t been a systematic attempt to unpick how audio can be used in virtual reality to create a restorative nature-based experience.

 
 

Our soundscape experiment is live!

We’ve partnered with the BBC to launch the Forest 404 Experiment, one of the biggest soundscape studies ever conducted. We’re asking the UK public to help us collect data and chart people’s responses to a variety of natural sounds.

You can take part in the experiment by visiting bbc.co.uk/forest

The Forest 404 Experiment is also exploring how cultural interpretations of nature might affect the restorative potential of soundscapes, and features a series of nature-based poetry.

 
 

Where next?

The outcomes of this experiment will give us a unique insight into how the sounds of nature might influence psychological wellbeing. We will be able to measure the importance of people’s life experience, and make judgements about what kind of sounds might work best in virtual reality.

The next steps will be to test these findings in more detail, using them in virtual reality to closely observe the effects they have on a more focused sample of participants.

Progress will be regularly updated here and on the blog, stay tuned as the project unfolds.