The relationship between environmental context and attentional engagement in podcast listening experiences

Jay Harrison Harrison, Alan Archer-Boyd, Jon Francombe, Christopher Pike, Damian Thomas Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has shown that podcasts are most frequently consumed using mobile listening devices across a wide variety of environmental, situational, and social contexts. To date, no studies have investigated how an individual’s environmental context might influence their attentional engagement in podcast listening experiences. Improving understanding of the contexts in which episodes of listening take place, and how they might affect listener engagement, could be highly valuable to researchers and producers working in the fields of object-based and personalised media. An online questionnaire on listening habits and behaviours was distributed to a sample of 264 podcast listeners. An exploratory factor analysis revealed five factors of environmental context that influence attentional engagement in podcast listening experiences. The factors were labelled as: outdoors, indoors & at home, evenings, soundscape & at work, and exercise. The soundscape & at work factor suggests that some listeners actively choose to consume podcasts to mask disturbing stimuli in their surrounding soundscape. Five aspects of podcast listening engagement were also defined and measured across the sample, providing a comprehensive quantitative account of contemporary podcast listening experiences. Further analysis suggested that the proposed factors of environmental context were positively correlated with the measured aspects of podcast listening engagement. The results presented support the hypothesis that elements of a listener’s environmental context can influence their attentional engagement in podcast listening experiences. They are highly pertinent to the fields of podcast studies, mobile listening experiences, and personalised media, and provide a basis for researchers seeking to explore how other forms of listening context might influence attentional engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1074320
Number of pages26
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 Harrison, Archer-Boyd, Francombe, Pike and Murphy.


  • Attentional engagement
  • Podcast studies
  • Personal listening spaces
  • Personalised media
  • Object-based media
  • Mobile audio listening
  • Environmental context

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