Michael Sonne Kristensen

Project: Signs of alarm fatigue

Investigates the cognitive-behavioural correlates of the subjective experience of 'alarm fatigue'.


During my years of undergraduate and graduate studies at the universities of Aarhus (departments of Musicology and Semiotics) and Oslo (departments of Musicology, Psychology and Media Studies), I have taken on a highly interdisciplinary approach to human meaning making in relation to sound objects (e.g. from the perspectives of semiotics, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, cognitive semantics, philosophy, linguistics, aesthetics). Outside the walls of academia my fascination for auditory meaning making has been cultivated through my work experience within the branding and music industries. Before joining the CogNovo programme I worked as a lecturer at Sonic College (University College, South Denmark) and Copenhagen School of Design and Technology.

Research interests

I am mainly interested in epistemological, methodological, and semiotic questions regarding the relationship between sound objects and principles of auditory cognition. A substantial part of my previous research is about short scale musical sound, particularly sound logos, within a cognitive semiotic framework. Recently, my research interests have come to include the fields of sonification and integral sound studies.


  • Kristensen, M. S., Edworthy, J., Özcan, E., & Denham, S. (2015). “Alarm fatigue in the perception of medical soundscapes”, Proceedings of Euronoise 2015, C. Glorieux, Ed., Maastricht, June 1-3, 2015. ISSN: 2226-5147.
  • Kristensen, M. S.; Edworthy, J., & Özcan, E. (2016). Alarm fatigue in the ward: An acoustical problem? SoundEffects: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience, vol. 6(1). ISSN: 1904-500X.


  • 'Creative solutions in alarm design'. Audio Mostly, Aalborg (DK), 1-3 October, 2014.
  • 'Alarm fatigue in hospital soundscapes: psycho-semiotics and attentional dynamics'. Human Factors in Healthcare (SIM715), Derriford Hospital (UK), 4 March, 2015.
  • 'Reflections on the planning of an exploratory study of alarm fatigue in the ICU'. Human Factors Research Group, Derriford Hospital (UK), 20 March, 2015.
  • 'Stratifying the cognitive ecology of alarmscape scenarios'. School of psychology annual conference, Plymouth University (UK), 8 June, 2015.
  • 'Contemplating alarm fatigue through epistemological bootstrapping'. Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca (RO), 26 May, 2016.
  • 'Into the alarm philosopher's gaze: Why alarm designers should read Foucault'. True Alarms symposium, Plymouth University (UK), 11 October, 2016.
  • ‘A mixed-method evaluation of alarm responses in a space mission control room‘. Annual Meeting of The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter, Prague (CZ), 26-28 October, 2016.


  • 'What is alarming about alarm sound?’. Audio Mostly, Aalborg (DK), 1-3 October, 2014.
  • ’Alarm fatigue deconstructed'. School of Psychology Postgraduate conference, Plymouth (UK), 8-9 July, 2015.

Organisation activities


‘The Exciting Synesthesia Machine’ (in collaboration with CogNovo fellows: David Bridges, Francois Lemarchand, & Frank Loesche). Displayed at:

  • Off the Lip 2016, CogNovo Bizarre Bazaar. Plymouth University (UK), 22 October, 2016.
  • ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016, Plymouth (UK), 9 November, 2016.