Psychology of Sound and Music

In our experiments we were trying to find out how sound in games affects a player, to do this we played different genres of game with and without sound to see the differences of how the players fared and recorded the results. In our primary research we use a research method that aimed to reduce the effect that the player learning the game would have on our results, to do this we did three rounds of testing for each game, the first with sound, the second without and the third with sound again. Throughout each of these rounds we kept the situation exactly the same, making sound the only variable we could affect, we did this so it was easier to observe the effect of sound on the player.

Through our research we discovered that different genres rely on sound in drastically different ways, in Five Nights at Freddy’s players were far more panicked and reliant on cameras when they had no sound, this is because they gained information through cameras and sound effects and then when they lost one of their methods of gaining information they relied on the other far more heavily. In Horizon Chase the only sounds in the game were music and sound effects for things the player could easily see, this led to sound having a reduced effect on the player which the results below show. Last was Guitar Hero 3, in this experiment I believe our results show that the player memorising the song had the largest effect, and although sound would help keep the player on beat the determining factor was player skill.

I believe the research method was valid, although it could have been improved to make the results more accurate, for example we could have grouped people by whether they had experience with the game before and seen how previous experience affects them. We could also have done more experiments with the same player if we had more time to see if there comes a point where their skill doesn’t continue to improve as much between rounds so the effect of sound can be better observed. We could also look at the results of this experiment and in another experiment focus on games where sound plays a larger role, like in Horror games similar to Five Nights at Freddy’s or other games where sound is used more informatively.

Five Nights at Freddy’s Results:

Ben: (More experienced)

With sound:

  • Lights & Doors – 40
  • Camera – 49

Without sound:

  • Lights & Doors – 30
  • Camera – 61

Bethan: (Less experienced)

With sound: (Death at 4AM)

  • Lights & Doors – 52
  • Camera – 0

Without sound:

  • Lights & Doors – 84
  • Camera – 38

Guitar Hero 3 Results:

With sound:

  • 69 missed
  • Score – 19005
  • 75%

Without sound:

  • 47 missed
  • Score – 29939
  • 84%

With sound:

  • 30 missed
  • Score – 34135
  • 89%

Horizon Chaser Results:

With sound:

  • Time – 01’39″22
  • Collisions – 7
  • Position –  1st

Without sound:

  • Time – 01’41″00
  • Collisions – 7
  • Position –  1st

With sound:

  • Time – 01’39″10
  • Collisions – 5
  • Position –  1st