In this paper, based on a large scale survey in Europe and China as well as corresponding laboratory studies, the influencing factors on the sound preference evaluation, considering social, demographical, physical, behavioural and psychological facets, have been systematically examined based on statistical analyses for each of the 19 case study sites. Various sound types have been considered, including natural, human, mechanical and instrumental sounds. In terms of social/demographical factors, the results suggest that age and education level are two factors which universally influence the sound preference significantly, although the influence may vary with different types of urban open spaces and sounds. With increasing age or education level, people tend to prefer natural sounds and are more annoyed by mechanical sounds in general. It has also been found that gender, occupation and residence status generally would not influence the sound preference evaluation significantly, although gender has a rather strong influence for certain sound types such as bird sounds, especially at certain case study sites. In terms of physical factors (season, time of day), behavioural factors (frequency of coming to the site, reason for coming to the site), and psychological factors (site preference), generally speaking, their influence on the sound preference evaluation is insignificant, except for limited case study sites and certain sound types. The influence of home sound environment, in terms of sounds heard at home, on the sound preference has been found to be generally insignificant, except for certain sounds. It is noted that there are some correlations between social/demographical factors and the studied physical/behavioural/psychological factors, which should be taken into account when considering the influence of individual factors on sound preference. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
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