Listener Descriptions of Isolated and Patterned Acoustic Transients
CATHOLIC UNIV OF AMERICA WASHINGTON DC HUMAN PERFORMANCE LAB
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A three-phase experiment was conducted to assess listeners ability to recognize and identify environmental acoustic sounds. The first phase was a free identification of ten short duration recordings of real-world events. The second phase was a free identification of five sequences composed of a subset of these ten transients. These sequences were intended to be meaningful, representing the sounds that could be produced by opening water or steam valves. The third phase was a forced identification of the ten transients using a checklist of descriptors. The results showed that while some types of sounds were identified correctly by most listeners, others were confused and rarely identified correctly. Several metallic sounds were often confused semantically even though they were quite distinct perceptually. The identification of patterns was found to depend upon both the salience of the individual sounds in the pattern and the semantic relationship between the sounds. Finally, it was demonstrated that signal processing errors can have perceptually meaningful effects. An error in processing one of the ten sounds produced a signal which was interpreted consistently by most listeners, but in a manner which had little semantic relationship to the actual event which had been recorded.
- Acoustic Detection and Detectors