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Localization Cues Affect Emotional Judgments — Results from a User Study on Scary Sound

The current paradigm for creating emotional impact in game sound is to carefully choose which sounds to play. This paper takes an alternative approach, suggesting that emotional impact of sounds can be affected by choosing how to play those sounds. We describe a novel concept for emotional sound design - emotional fine-tuning - and show how it is possible to systematically influence the emotional impact of a single sound sample. A controlled user study with 8 subjects confirmed that changing the reproduction of a sample so that source localization of the sound is challenged will increase its perceived scariness compared to the same sound with clearly detectable source. The work extends experimental research on emotion perception in sound. It has practical implications for sound design in games and other interactive media.

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