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Spatial Hearing, Attention and Informational Masking

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Technical Report,01 May 2012,01 Apr 2015

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Trustees of Boston University Boston United States

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The research completed during the past award period concerned the development and evaluation of a new means for representing the speech stimulus, called pointillistic speech, and the role of listener expectation in speech understanding in adverse acoustic environments. The topics addressed using pointillistic processing included informational masking and the covert embedding of secondary messages in pointillistic speech another sounds. The primary accomplishment was obtaining a better understanding of speech communication under masked conditions while a secondary accomplishment was the testing and refinement of covert messaging using pointillistic speech. In the latter case, possible applications for increasing information transfer of audio signals and acoustic steganography were explored. In the area of predictability and expectation, the resilience of streams of speech to perceptual and cognitive intrusions by competing sounds was explored on a linguistic level by varying syntactic structure and by using more formal means for varying predictability by constructing target sequences of sounds from transistion matrices i.e.,Markov chains. This approach was successful in improving our understanding of the processing of streams of speech masked by other speech.

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