Sounds Scary

The Impact of Infrasound on Perception of Fear

  • Tristan Eckersley MacEwan University


Infrasound is a low frequency sound below 20 Hertz (Hz). People are frequently exposed to infrasound as it can be generated by traffic, low rumbling pipes, and windmills among others. While infrasound is outside the range of human hearing, there is evidence that it may have an impact on physiological arousal. For example, infrasound has been shown to increase feelings of awe and suspense, and may partially explain why some people report seeing ghosts or experiencing paranormal events. This experiment is a continuation of a series of studies exploring the impact of infrasound on perceptions of fear. In our previous research, participants were exposed to infrasound for a set amount of time prior to exploring a commercial haunted house, Deadmonton. Participants who were exposed to infrasound spent less time exploring the frightening environment than those who were not exposed. In this study, participants were asked to explore Deadmonton for a standardized amount of time. While exploring Deadmonton, two infrasound speakers were placed such that participants would be exposed to infrasound in multiple locations. Researchers measured heart rate, time spend at each location in Deadmonton, as well as subjective self-reports of fear.

Discipline: Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rodney Schmaltz