Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)


Emotional Response to Emergency Alarms

Publication Date

Spring 2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Micheal Oliver

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Emergency alarms are used throughout the world in order to create urgency for an incoming event. Each country has a different alarm based on cultural influences, but every alarm has the same goal to create urgency without paralyzing fear, or a balanced alarm. The term balanced was defined by (Vogt et al., 2017 & Lee et al., 2009).This study aims to compare 10 countries' alarm systems to determine which sound is the most balanced. These countries are the USA, Japan, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, France, Finland and Greece. Each of these countries fall above the 2nd world country margin, however are culturally diverse. Past research on the topic of emergency alarm systems by, Day & Thompson, 2019 & Chen et al., 2013, found that emotional states, familiarity, and properties of musical structure combine to create a psychological environment that may amplify an incumbent emotional experience.

The present study experimentally investigated the elicited emotional response after listening to ten different countries' emergency alarm system sound. Participants form the belmont university undergraduate psychology program were asked to 10 sounds spanning 7 seconds and rank their emotional response on a likert scale of 1-7, containing 6 different descriptive words. We hypothesized that Sounds with dissonance and intensity change will be more balanced and Sounds with high tempo and bright, musical rhythms will be less balanced. After listening to the 10 alarms participants reported ________.

Keywords: Alarm; Balanced; Sound; emotional response; panic

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