Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Physiological and psychological assessment of sound


 The psycho-physiological effects of several sound stimulations were investigated to evaluate the relationship between a psychological parameter, such as subjective perception, and a physiological parameter, such as the heart rate variability (HRV). Eight female students aged 21–22 years old were tested. Electrocardiogram (ECG) and the movement of the chest-wall for estimating respiratory rate were recorded during three different sound stimulations; (1) music provided by a synthesizer (condition A); (2) birds twitters (condition B); and (3) mechanical sounds (condition C). The percentage power of the low-frequency (LF; 0.05≤0.15 Hz) and high-frequency (HF; 0.15≤0.40 Hz) components in the HRV (LF%, HF%) were assessed by a frequency analysis of time-series data for 5 min obtained from R-R intervals in the ECG. Quantitative assessment of subjective perception was also described by a visual analog scale (VAS). The HF% and VAS value for comfort in C were significantly lower than in either A and/or B. The respiratory rate and VAS value for awakening in C were significantly higher than in A and/or B. There was a significant correlation between the HF% and the value of the VAS, and between the respiratory rate and the value of the VAS. These results indicate that mechanical sounds similar to C inhibit the para-sympathetic nervous system and promote a feeling that is unpleasant but alert, also suggesting that the HRV reflects subjective perception.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Author information

Additional information

Received: 28 June 1996 / Revised: 6 January 1997 / Accepted: 10 January 1997

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yanagihashi, R., Ohira, M., Kimura, T. et al. Physiological and psychological assessment of sound. Int J Biometeorol 40, 157–161 (1997).

Download citation

  • Key words Heart rate variability (HRV)
  • Visual analog scale
  • Comfort
  • Alertness
  • Sound stimulation