The Effects of Population Density and Noise - Psy 460

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Running head: The Effects of Population and Noise Pollution

The Effects of Population Density and Noise Pollution
University of Phoenix
PSY 460
Dr. Michael Mckellip

The Effects of Population Density and Noise
The term population density is described as a measurement of the number of people in an area. It is calculated by dividing the number of people by area. As of the last U.S. census, the average population density of the United States was 87.4 people per square mile (US Census Bureau, 2010). This is just an objective fact though and has little, if any, applicability to the average American’s daily life. However, when issues of excess population noise and decreased privacy are taken into account the subjective perception of population density meets the objective fact of population density. As population density increases so does the noise that the population produces, especially in crowded areas. Also, as people move to a more confined area the ability to maintain privacy and a sense of territoriality adapts and changes. To fully understand how population density affects individual people, the perceptions of noise, privacy, territoriality, and personal space must be covered and the relevance of these perceptions, and mediation thereof, must be applied to the subject of populations. Concepts of Noise

Noise is unwanted electrical or electromagnetic energy that degrades the quality of signals and data. Noise occurs in digital and analog systems, and can affect files and communications of all types, including text, programs, images, audio, and telemetry. Nevertheless, the perception of noise does involve a psychological component, so the identification and classification of noise is highly subjective. Sound itself has several differentiating perceptual characteristics; pitch, tone, amplification, which correspond directly with the physical attributes of the sound itself; wave symmetry, wavelength, and wave amplitude.

In modern society, transportation systems – including cars, trains and airplanes – are one of the most common sources of noise pollution since they can be particularly loud and unrelenting in certain areas. For instance, Bronzaft et al (2008) found that people that live near airports experience four times the normal amount of noise than other residential occupants and are 50% more likely to be bothered by airplane and other transportation noise. In this example, the subjective perception of noise is influenced by the environment in which the sound is presented. Furthermore, even though noise is largely anthropogenic it can still cause cumulative and chronic psychological and physiological damage; affecting the areas of psychological functioning, social behavior, and task performance. As with many environmental stimuli, there are strategies where noise can be mediated and reduced. Strategies to Reduce Noise

There are four fundamental ways in which noise can be controlled: reduce noise at the source, block the path of noise, increase the path-length, and protect the recipient. In general, the best control method is to reduce noise levels at the source. However, one of the best methods of noise source reduction is the regular and thorough maintenance of operating machinery. Noise levels at construction sites can be controlled using proper construction planning and scheduling techniques. Locating noisy air-compressors and other equipment away from the site boundary, along with creating temporary barriers to physically block the noise, can contribute to reducing noise pollution. This type of technology is most effective in situations where repetitive noise is experienced, since the opposing waves are easier to produce because they are always of the same type. Currently the technology is being used in airplane pilot helmets to allow them to hear cockpit communications better and cancel out the...
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