Effects of Population Density and Noise
Density and noise is able to effect people differently, a person’s personal space; territory and privacy can be disrupted by other people, chronic noise, and short-term noise. The different effects can be from an annoying noise to a more strong intrusive and anxiety forming illness. When population density increases the personal space, privacy and territory are approached a person may demand the acknowledgment to help stop or prevent crowding, and to help maintain the anxiety and frustration levels that a person could reach.
Personal space is defined as “a physical distance that people choose to keep in interpersonal relationships” (Hutchinson & Kowalski, 1999). Personal space can also be defined as a invisible space or boundaries that surrounds a person’s body and where other people would be considered an intruder if the individual gets to close to that person. Territorial space is when a person uses durable but preventative behaviors such as a defense of a home, place, person, objects, etc. This could also be done by verbal, signs, self-markers, this can imply to a person the one in or on that property or near the property will react in a manner that will help keep that space safe. People are not the only one’s or things that use territory. Animals use territory to show ownership. Privacy is defined as “a control over information about a person and have control over interaction with others” (Hutchinson & Kowalski, 1999). Privacy is a major concern especially with technology today, people have information that is suppose to stay private where some information can be made very public, the individuals place the values and needs of this information through technology can cause a huge risk on privacy.
According to Straub (2007), a study done by John Calhoun experimented with a population density with living conditions of rats. Through his study the rats would behave as normal and were given ample living space and as the rats population increased the rats social environment starts to deteriorate. The rats would kill the young, reproduction would decrease, the rats would fight, and some even became cannibals. Although the study does not completely compare to people, the behavior of people can have certain affects as the population starts to get denser. Population density can start to affect crowding, which can ultimately lead to people feeling confined and very limited to the surroundings. In crowding a person can “start to feel aggression, inappropriate social interaction, social withdraws, and sometimes even criminal actions” (Stokols, 1972). If crowding becomes a factor but is able to be decreased the personal space, territory and privacy could be restored. This becomes a high demand and needs to be acknowledged so that others do not feel controlled or start to react to such annoyances.
Having the perception of population density gives components, one being ample space provided to that person, and two having crowding diminish. This giving the perception of space an influences to give more space if needed. Since crowding is inevitable a person psychological mindset is to change with the space that is given. If the person is able to get the space they need the likelihood of the person not having high anxiety and stress could look into a positive spectrum.
Natural settings are typically managed, such as zoos, green spaces, even parks, this can create a social context as well as a support, this leading to interaction, and nurturing the environment, especially in urban living situations. People who are able to live in urban settings and are able to encourage the perception to live with nature are more influenced that people were to believe that nature would reduce disease, it would increase health and would reduce crime, although most theories are able to support this evidence. Urban parks can play a significant role in not only physical activity but some evidence even support fewer health issues. Some studies found that people who live in green spaces have a “lower mortality rate then those who do not live in green spaces, this study was shown through the culture of the Japanese, and has also shown that the stress from urban settings can be reduced with green spaces” (Gidlofgunnarsson & Ohstrom, 2007). Having a neighborhood with more green space is also known to cause closer interpersonal relationships, less aggression and violence, more positive social interaction with in the community, and even better school performance.
Noisy environments have also shown to be a cause in negative health issues. Through, studies of people and animals the noise in an environment can cause an “increase in cortisol levels, and blood pressure” (Staub, 2007). Studies show even chronic exposure to noise can even cause risk of cardiovascular disease, and even a decrease in learning. This can become an issue for children as well, as children grow they learn maladaptive skills and how to block certain stimuli. Having to much noise in the environment can have them learn to block the wrong stimuli’s which can have the child lack verbal skills.
Due to some studies in “chronic noise effects the louder noise can start to disrupt the short term memory as decrease the ability to be able to perform even the simplest tasks“ (Straub, 2007). Although noise can not be directly responsible for stress, it does however relate to sleep disturbance, it provokes anxiety, and can affect a person’s attitude. People may not have access to control the noise outside the homes, but the ways of decreasing the noise would be putting drapes up, objects on the wall, more objects within the home such as furniture. Being able to trap the sound waves from outside to the windows by layering things like blinds, and curtains, having carpet instead of wood floors would help muffle the noise that would have a tendency to bounce off the walls.
There is a perception of noise that one sound will affect a presence of another sound, natural sounds like water running, is considered a white noise this ultimately effects the sound waves in an environment that are typically used in a home setting live a bath or vacuum. This can help reduce stress levels especially in young children. Some people are known to purchase sound machines, which can be inexpensive and take only a small portion of electricity. Auditory Masking is what creates this noise on top of noise. This does not change the noise that is around but it will be able to decrease the awareness of such noises. Infants seem to be the ones who adjust more to auditory masking, if a mother/father is vacuuming as the child is crying to constant noise of the vacuum starts to soothe the child into a sleep (in most cases).
Looking back, privacy, territoriality, and personal space are involved in a personal choice and is that person’s individual perceptions of how the space is used for a normal functioning day. Privacy can be subjected by technology, which in some cases cause the privacy to be leaked to the public. There are some psychological effects that the perceptions of the choices that person has made, does vary individual to individual, however limited space has a toll on every person. In urban, environments having limited space can increase aggression, and even violent behavior. The average academic performance decreases, and there is more negative reactions that is observed between the community. Intrusive noise, can cause a large amount that can cause annoyance, and depending on the individual this could lead to an interpretation of an intrusion. The access of a noise reduction can help strategies from complex to even simple annoyance. When the outside noise can not be controlled a person may look at internally controlling the situation which then decreases the anxiety and stress that noise can make. Having objects such as fans, or running ponds, can help reduce levels of stress due what is called “white noises”. Many people can have their personal space intruded by outside noises, especially when a person has state or county construction going on in the area. There are laws that help prevent certain times that are allowed to start and finish, just as a homeowners community does for daily noises such as mowing a lawn.
Hutchison, E. D., & Kowalski, S. (1999). Dimensions of human behavior: person and environment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Stokols, D. (1972). On the distinction between density and crowding: Some implications for future research. Psychological Review, 79(3), 275-277. doi: 10.1037/h0032706 Straub, R. O. (2007). Health psychology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Worth.