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Informational factors in identifying environmental sounds in natural auditory scenes

Leech, Robert and Gygi, B. and Aydelott, Jennifer and Dick, Frederic (2009) Informational factors in identifying environmental sounds in natural auditory scenes. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 126 (6), pp. 3147-3155. ISSN 0001-4966.

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In a non-linguistic analog of the “cocktail-party” scenario, informational and contextual factors were found to affect the recognition of everyday environmental sounds embedded in naturalistic auditory scenes. Short environmental sound targets were presented in a dichotic background scene composed of either a single stereo background scene or a composite background scene created by playing different background scenes to the different ears. The side of presentation, time of onset, and number of target sounds were varied across trials to increase the uncertainty for the participant. Half the sounds were contextually congruent with the background sound (i.e., consistent with the meaningful real-world sound environment represented in the auditory scene) and half were incongruent. The presence of a single competing background scene decreased identification accuracy, suggesting an informational masking effect. In tandem, there was a contextual pop-out effect, with contextually incongruent sounds identified more accurately. However, when targets were incongruent with the real-world context of the background scene, informational masking was reduced. Acoustic analyses suggested that this contextual pop-out effect was driven by a mixture of perceptual differences between the target and background, as well as by higher-level cognitive factors. These findings indicate that identification of environmental sounds in naturalistic backgrounds is an active process that requires integrating perceptual, attentional, and cognitive resources.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): hearing, information theory, natural languages, neurophysiology, speech processing, speech recognition
School: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2011 09:14
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:18

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