Every evening, I put on the sound of forests in our home. If I sit briefly and get involved in a task, I can forget that I’m listening to a recording. It’s incredible how much of an effect this little enhancement can have on relaxation.
When I was a student in university, I earned money by being a guinea pig for experiments run the the psychology department at my university. There was one that was going to pay a whopping $50 for half a day and included snacks and I promptly signed up. Sadly, it never materialized. However, the experiment was going to be interesting — I was to work on office-related tasks and be subject to noises. The idea was to see how much of a disruption different noises and their magnitude could have.
A quick search on Google Scholar shows many articles linking sound with mood. It’s surprising this isn’t offered up in more applications as a means of increasing productivity or at least negating drops in productivity. For example, why not an email composition tune, or even composition tunes based on the sentiment of what we’re responding to.
This seems like fertile ground for innovation with relatively low development effort.