When I am working on personal projects or writing for archi-ninja.com I always head to my favourite cafes in Melbourne to find the right headspace. Namely Industry Beans, Grace, Young Bloods Diner, Slowpoke, Breakfast Thieves, Pavlov’s Duck, Proud Mary, Dench Bakers Cafe, Babka Bakery or Grub Food Van. All amazing places who have a wonderfully productive yet vibrant work environment, most of these cafes will know me as the person who orders an english breakfast tea and toast with peanut butter and honey (irrespective of the time of day). Each of these cafes facilitate my creativity and provide inspiration through new people and their passing conversations, constant changes in sights and perspectives and most importantly changes in sound.
Ah, the Sound of Silence? Not quite…I have become quite comfortable working in the corner of a cafe, earphones in, macbook open, feet on seat and rocking out in jeans and sneakers. I head to the cafe because the sound of my home (at around 30 decibels) is too quite to concentrate, the cafe by contrast is about 80 decibels. A study published in The Journal of Consumer Research explains how the level of ambient noises (at around 80 decibels) force the brain into a chemical state that increases our perception of task difficulty and therefore leading to higher levels of concentration, focus, abstract processing and creativity.
I wanted to share with you an incredibly interesting article on the sound of silence and in particular the anechoic chamber located at the Orfield Laboratory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The anechoic chamber is -9.4 decibels, the worlds quietest room, so quiet you can hear the sound of your stomach, heart and blood flow. While the room promises to provide silence it will also cause insanity and hallucinations, in fact the longest anyone has ever stayed in the room is 45 minutes. Science indicates that we actually learn to feel discomfort in silence, something which most people have never experienced.
In a study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, subjects exposed to this type of chamber, for as little as 15 minutes in the dark, reported psychosis-like experiences. You will be happy to know the room is more commonly used for more productive purposes such as testing hearing devices.
The walls, floor and ceiling absorb all sound, rather than reflecting it, as most surfaces do. Thus the term anechoic: no echo. For more information head over to the huffington post.
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