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Sonically Stressed: The Effect of Stressful Sounds on Physiology and Cognitive Processes

Have you ever wondered how video game sounds effect our bodies? Our experimental question was the following: Do unsettling sounds increase or decrease stress levels or psychomotor speed? Does being a gamer make you more or less susceptible to stress related to auditory stimuli?


Ariel Andrade, Matthew Diaz


Kelly Cotton, Tessa Hirschfeld-Stoler

Project Period:




We began this experiment as a hypothesis about video game players reacting quicker than non gamers when hearing stress inducing video game-related sounds as a result of the correlation that these sounds may have for a player in comparison to someone who hasn’t played.

Auditory stimuli can have a severe impact on people's cognitive abilities, which is why we choose to conduct research on its correlation to stress. As gamers ourselves, our specific strengths and weaknesses were of interest to us. In our experiment, we tested the correlation between scary auditory stimuli and stress response, and if gamers would have a heightened or decreased response to said stimuli. Our results concluded that the scary auditory stimuli presented did raise proxy stress levels, including a generally higher heart rate, galvanic skin response (GSR), and a faster response time. For our second experimental question, we asked if stress response has any correlation with being a gamer. We observed mixed results with some indicating one or the other.

This page was originally developed by BioBus Summer 2021 Jr. Scientist William Rhee.

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