In this study, we conducted an experiment to investigate the evaluation structure that lies at the basis of peoples' psychological evaluation of environmental sounds. In the experiment, subjects were given cards on each of which a name of one of the environmental sounds in the specified context is written. Then they did the following three tasks: (1) to sort the cards into groups by the similarity of their impressions of the imagined sounds; (2) to name each group with the word that best represented their overall impression of the group; and (3) to evaluate all sounds on the cards using the words obtained in the previous task. These tasks were done twice: once assuming they heard the sounds at ease inside their homes and once while walking outside in a resort theme park. We analysed the similarity of imagined impression between the sounds with a cluster analysis and clusters of sounds were produced, namely, sounds labelled "natural," "transportation," and so on. A principal component analysis revealed the three major factors of the evaluation structure for both contexts and they were interpreted as preference, activity and sense of daily life. © 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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