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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D000068/1
Title: Can you stand the screams?
Principal Investigator: Cox, Professor TJ
Other Investigators:
Eustace, Mr D Avis, Dr M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Museum of Science and Industry MOSI Spacedog UK
Department: Res Inst for the Built and Human Env
Organisation: University of Salford
Scheme: PPE PreFEC
Starts: 01 July 2005 Ends: 31 December 2006 Value (£): 20,279
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Finger nails scrapping down a blackboard, the scream of a baby, your neighbour's dog barking: what is the worst sound in the world?Acoustic science is concerned with the production, transmission, manipulation and reception of sound, from unwanted traffic noise to beautiful music. Acoustics embodies both the physical properties of sound waves, and the psychological and physiological reaction of humans. This project will produce an exhibit about how people respond to sound for the Xperiment hands-on gallery at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (MSIM), and an accompanying web site. While some existing exhibits in the gallery deal with sound, in common with most interactive science galleries these mostly concern physical phenomena (e.g. resonance). An important part of acoustics is neglected - the often complex way in which people perceive and interpret sounds. The aim of the exhibit is to increase awareness of the psychology of the perception of acoustic signals, by examining what makes a sound unpleasant, or even unbearable, to hear.Sound is one of our primary means of communication and pervades many aspects of our daily lives. Its ubiquity inspires a wide variety of research areas / from environmental noise pollution and its resulting annoyance and stress, to more positive aspects such as the acoustic design of buildings which can improve quality of life in work, home and leisure. In all cases, an important part of acoustic research involves the measurement of subjective human response. Once this is understood, appropriate engineering measures can be taken to abate unwanted noises, and enhance desirable sounds or signals. Many ongoing research projects at Salford University involve measurement of human response to sound. Here we take three examples: The EPSRC SUE Vivacity project on the sustainability of 24hour cities has a work package on environmental issues, which includes looking at desirable soundscapes for city centres. The DTI funded Sound Quality Assessment project has been examining the perception of sound from domestic products and appliances. The DEFRA funded low frequency noise assessment project has been examining the response of subjects to low frequency noise, and attempting to map this response to objective measurements. Consequently, psychoacoustics links directly to EPSRC funded-research at Salford, and the intention in this PPA project is to make an explicit link to the Vivacity project.Common noise problems, such as noisy neighbours, are well known to the general public and feature often in the media. For instance, in the last Queen's Speech the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill was outlined, which attempts to address problems of anti-social behaviour including noisy neighbours. People will also be familiar with the exploitation of sound effects in films and television to create and reinforce emotional responses. Our intention is to build upon such a theatrical use of sound, to make people think about how humans respond to acoustic signals. The proposal is timely since noise is perceived as an increasing problem for society.
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Organisation Website: http://www.salford.ac.uk