The Effects of Population Density and Noise on Individuals
Population per unit volume or per unit area is population density. This measurement is mostly used on living organisms and normally on human beings. It is a geographical term. Population density can be classified into biological and human population densities. While biological population densities are given by total population divided by total volume or land area, human population densities are given by the total number of people per square mile or kilometer. Low biological density may lead to extinction vortex or even reduced fertility. This is the Allee effect, which leads to increased interbreeding as well as problems in location of sexual partners. On the other hand, noise can be said to be unwanted noise. Put differently, noise is unnecessary electromagnetic or electrical energy that degrades data and signal quality. It affects the communication in telemetry, images, audio, text and programs (Enger & Smith, 2010).
Territoriality is the inter-specific or intra-specific competition, which is a culmination of behavioral exclusion from others from a given area, which is largely seen as their area, and therefore, properly defended. This behavior is well defined and is demonstrated through intimidation, songs, calls, chase, attack and even marking, which is done with scent. This defense mechanism has over time proved very costly to these animals. This competition, be it intra-specific or inter-specific, is brought about by the desire to acquire and consequently protect their nesting sites, food sources, mating areas or even to simply catch the attention of a mate. This behavior therefore is fanned by reproductive successes and desire for survival. In defending their territory, these animals ensure that they are able to secure a habitat from where they can reproduce successfully and rummage for food. This bolsters their overall fitness. Increased territoriality leads to depletion of resources (Connelly, 2008). Territoriality costs energy and time and at times inhibits other activities such as mating, courting, parenting and feeding. Thus, it does not benefit all animals. Where resources are plenty and predictable, there is no need for territoriality. Conversely, where resources are undependable and scarce, it is always advantageous to defend a territory. A sphere of influence is acquired by animals with an increased biological population density. Human beings in some places in the world traditionally sought to create boundaries whenever they occupied a new geographical area. These were concerted efforts to safeguard the available resources to guarantee their survival.
The territoriality concept originated from an animal behavior study. Territoriality is therefore concerned with the manner in which both animals and human beings defend and use their physical space. A territory can only be adequately defined behaviorally and not geographically. The existence of territories is as a result of the need to mark and defend the behavior of people and animals as well. People mark both temporal and permanent territory. Permanent territories are those that are occupied for many years, while temporal territories are those that are occupied within a short period of time. With increased populations, people use symbolic markers to define their territories. Due to the desire and need for adequate space, people throng in areas that are highly endowed with resources. This leads to limited space and thus people scramble for the limited space. This tendency leads to encroachment of forests by populations and eventually the depletion of natural resources (Enger & Smith, 2010).
The ability of an animal to seclude itself from the rest is privacy. The content and boundaries are set in order to acquire and maintain a certain degree of privacy. The presence of something that is personally sensitive or inherently special brings about the need for privacy. Privacy may be brought about by the need for security and body integrity. Animals equally need to protect information about food supplies and thus the need for privacy. When populations grow denser, both intra-specific and inter-specific competition is bound to arise. To this end therefore, animals tend to isolate themselves from other animals both in time and space. Thus, privacy is an individual’s capacity to make decisions regarding how open or how close they are to others. Privacy deals with information protection, availing resources to other people as well as limiting the physical contact among people. Privacy depends on the people involved in the situation and the situation’s nature. The concept of privacy is thus a flexible and relative concept. Pastoralists’ communities, for instance highly, safeguard information on the regions that are highly endowed with resources. This information asymmetry ensures that they secure food supplies for themselves. However, mechanisms to regulate privacy ought to be instituted (Kosko, 2006).
The environment where people live is partially constituted by the number, behavior and attitudes of these animals. The number of persons in an environment most of the time greatly lead to behavioral changes of people in that particular area. Since population density is the number of people in a given area, people change the way they behave in relative to territoriality, personal space and privacy concepts. Equally, population density changes the noise level that people are exposed to. The value attached to nature also depends upon population density.
A region that surrounds an individual and that they regard it psychologically as theirs is their personal space. A majority of people highly value their personal space and thus feel anxiety, anger or even discomfort when such a space is encroached. Any encroachment of personal space is a sign of the existence of a relationship between people. Serious violations of personal space are met by dehumanization. Whenever populations become denser, the desire to have personal space is high since the limited resources available are not sufficient for each animal. Adults need more personal space than children generally (Blanchfield, 2011).
When populations grow denser, people experience an increase in the intensity and number of stressors associated with daily life. A majority of these stressors are associated with concepts of personal space, privacy and territoriality, whose significance increases with increased population density. In urban settings, interactions with other people become segmented. Minimal involvement and anonymity characterize these populations. People become indifferent towards bizarre and deviant behavior. Responses to other people’s demands become not only selective but also restricted. Increased population densities lower privacy and therefore through territoriality, people are able to insure their privacy. Delineation of territorial boundaries arises with increased populations in a given geographical area. The value of privacy increases with increased populations and consequently, the degree of interaction among people decreases. When populations increase in a given confined area, it is obvious that personal space is lost (Blanchfield, 2011).
Most psychological research studies, bolstered by anecdotal verification, demonstrate that unswerving contact with the environment culminates to not only improved mental health but also better psychological developments for rural and city dwellers. A positive relationship between health and nature exists. Population density equally determines the noise level to which an individual is exposed to normally in their everyday life. Nature affects individuals’ experience. An urban setting increases the significance that people attach to not only nature but also settings such as public parks and gardens. Nature therefore has an invigorating impact on people’s lives that assists them unwind and reduce their stress levels. Nature can provide an evade the throng of people found in urban areas created as a result of increased population densities as well as stress produced by milieu noise.
Noise may lead to hearing loss. Exposure to high levels of noise may result to either permanent, temporal or a combination of permanent and temporal hearing loss. Treatment for permanent hearing loss is very difficult. People who work or live in noisy areas may develop a shouting habit. Some people even become stressed up and irritable. Ample evidence exists that demonstrate that noise may lead to mental disorders (Connelly, 2008). Exposure to noise leads to constriction of blood vessels and muscles become tense. Noise also leads to speech interference and masking. However, a reasonable level of noise bolsters speech privacy and minimizes the impacts of intruding noises. Noise can even cause hypertension, tinnitus, heart diseases, birth defects and immune system changes.
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Soundproof rooms can be constructed for noisy machineries especially in manufacturing and industrial installations. This may also prove significant in residential buildings. Noisy machines should be situated in places that are not near living rooms or sleeping rooms. Law enforcers may monitor the misuse of loudspeakers, public address systems and functions such as outdoor parties, discos and even worshippers. Rules and regulative mechanisms should be instituted to curb air pollution. Law enforcers must ensure that there is silence near schools and hospitals. Vegetation such as trees may equally prove important as far as reduction of noise is concerned. This is because they help in the absorption of sound, and consequently, help in reducing the harmful effects of the high levels of sound (Kosko, 2006).
In conclusion, an augment in population density distort the way people behave viz-a-viz concepts of privacy, personal space and territoriality. In highly populated areas most people experience a greater desire for privacy due to little personal space as well as increased personalization of defensive and protective marking. It is important to institute mechanisms to curb air pollution in order to take care of the environment. Policies that address high population densities should equally be instituted to ensure that resources are not depleted by possible encroachment. Towards this end, governments should ensure that there are adequate food supplies for their people.