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  • Over the next five minutes,

  • my intention is to transform your relationship with sound.

  • Let me start with the observation that most of the sound around us is accidental,

  • and much of it is unpleasant. (Traffic noise)

  • We stand on street corners, shouting over noise like this,

  • and pretending that it doesn't exist.

  • Well, this habit of suppressing sound has meant that our

  • relationship with sound has become largely unconscious.

  • There are four major ways sound is affecting you all the time,

  • and I'd like to raise them in your consciousness today.

  • First is physiological. (Loud alarm clocks)

  • Sorry about that. I've just given you a shot of cortisol, your fight/flight hormone.

  • Sounds are affecting your hormone secretions all the time,

  • but also your breathing, your heart rate -- which I just also did --

  • and your brainwaves.

  • It's not just unpleasant sounds like that that do it.

  • This is surf. (Ocean waves)

  • It has the frequency of roughly 12 cycles per minute.

  • Most people find that very soothing,

  • and, interestingly, 12 cycles per minute

  • is roughly the frequency of the breathing of a sleeping human.

  • There is a deep resonance with being at rest.

  • We also associate it with being stress-free

  • and on holiday.

  • The second way in which sound affects you is psychological.

  • Music is the most powerful form of sound that we know

  • that affects our emotional state. (Albinoni's Adagio)

  • This is guaranteed to make most of you feel pretty sad

  • if I leave it on.

  • Music is not the only kind of sound, however, which affects your emotions.

  • Natural sound can do that too.

  • Birdsong, for example, is a sound which most people

  • find reassuring. (Birds chirping)

  • There is a reason for that. Over hundreds of thousands of years

  • we've learned that when the birds are singing, things are safe.

  • It's when they stop you need to be worried.

  • The third way in which sound affects you is cognitively.

  • You can't understand two people talking at once ("If you're listening to this version of")

  • ("me you're on the wrong track.") or in this case one person talking twice.

  • Try and listen to the other one. ("You have to choose which me you're going to listen to.")

  • We have a very small amount of bandwidth for processing auditory input,

  • which is why noise like this -- (Office noise) --

  • is extremely damaging for productivity.

  • If you have to work in an open-plan office like this,

  • your productivity is greatly reduced.

  • And whatever number you're thinking of, it probably isn't as bad as this.

  • (Ominous music)

  • You are one third as productive in open-plan offices as in quiet rooms.

  • And I have a tip for you. If you have to work in spaces like that,

  • carry headphones with you, with a soothing sound like birdsong.

  • Put them on and your productivity goes back up to triple what it would be.

  • The fourth way in which sound affects us is behaviorally.

  • With all that other stuff going on, it would be amazing

  • if our behavior didn't change.

  • (Techno music inside a car) So, ask yourself: Is this person ever going to drive

  • at a steady 28 miles per hour? I don't think so.

  • At the simplest, you move away from unpleasant sound

  • and towards pleasant sounds.

  • So if I were to play this -- (Jackhammer) --

  • for more than a few seconds, you'd feel uncomfortable;

  • for more than a few minutes, you'd be leaving the room in droves.

  • For people who can't get away from noise like that,

  • it's extremely damaging for their health.

  • And that's not the only thing that bad sound damages.

  • Most retail sound is inappropriate and accidental, and even hostile,

  • and it has a dramatic effect on sales.

  • For those of you who are retailers, you may want to look away

  • before I show this slide.

  • They are losing up to 30 percent of their business

  • with people leaving shops faster, or just turning around on the door.

  • We all have done it, leaving the area

  • because the sound in there is so dreadful.

  • I want to spend just a moment talking about

  • the model that we've developed, which allows us to start at the top

  • and look at the drivers of sound, analyze the soundscape

  • and then predict the four outcomes I've just talked about.

  • Or start at the bottom,

  • and say what outcomes do we want,

  • and then design a soundscape to have a desired effect.

  • At last we've got some science we can apply.

  • And we're in the business of designing soundscapes.

  • Just a word on music. Music is the most powerful sound there is,

  • often inappropriately deployed.

  • It's powerful for two reasons. You recognize it fast,

  • and you associate it very powerfully.

  • I'll give you two examples. (First chord of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night")

  • Most of you recognize that immediately.

  • The younger, maybe not. (Laughter)

  • (First two notes of "Jaws" theme) And most of you associate that with something!

  • Now, those are one-second samples of music.

  • Music is very powerful. And unfortunately

  • it's veneering commercial spaces, often inappropriately.

  • I hope that's going to change over the next few years.

  • Let me just talk about brands for a moment,

  • because some of you run brands. Every brand is out there

  • making sound right now.

  • There are eight expressions of a brand in sound.

  • They are all important. And every brand needs to have guidelines at the center.

  • I'm glad to say that is starting to happen now.

  • (Intel ad jingle)

  • You all recognize that one. (Nokia ringtone) This is the

  • most-played tune in the world today.

  • 1.8 billion times a day, that tune is played.

  • And it cost Nokia absolutely nothing.

  • Just leave you with four golden rules, for those of you who run businesses,

  • for commercial sound.

  • First, make it congruent,

  • pointing in the same direction as your visual communication.

  • That increases impact by over 1,100 percent.

  • If your sound is pointing the opposite direction, incongruent,

  • you reduce impact by 86 percent.

  • That's an order of magnitude, up or down.

  • This is important.

  • Secondly, make it appropriate to the situation.

  • Thirdly, make it valuable. Give people something with the sound.

  • Don't just bombard them with stuff.

  • And, finally, test and test it again.

  • Sound is complex. There are many countervailing influences.

  • It can be a bit like a bowl of spaghetti:

  • sometimes you just have to eat it and see what happens.

  • So I hope this talk has raised sound in your consciousness.

  • If you're listening consciously,

  • you can take control of the sound around you.

  • It's good for your health. It's good for your productivity.

  • If we all do that we move to a state

  • that I like to think will be sound living in the world.

  • I'm going to leave you with a little bit more birdsong. (Birds chirping)

  • I recommend at least five minutes a day, but there is no maximum dose.

  • Thank you for lending me your ears today.

  • (Applause)

Over the next five minutes,

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【TED】Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us (Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us)

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    YI-Fang Lo posted on 2015/12/29
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