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J Acoust Soc Am. 2004 Mar;115(3):1252-65.

Spectral-temporal factors in the identification of environmental sounds.

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Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


Three experiments tested listeners' ability to identify 70 diverse environmental sounds using limited spectral information. Experiment 1 employed low- and high-pass filtered sounds with filter cutoffs ranging from 300 to 8000 Hz. Listeners were quite good (>50% correct) at identifying the sounds even when severely filtered; for the high-pass filters, performance was never below 70%. Experiment 2 used octave-wide bandpass filtered sounds with center frequencies from 212 to 6788 Hz and found that performance with the higher bandpass filters was from 70%-80% correct, whereas with the lower filters listeners achieved 30%-50% correct. To examine the contribution of temporal factors, in experiment 3 vocoder methods were used to create event-modulated noises (EMN) which had extremely limited spectral information. About half of the 70 EMN were identifiable on the basis of the temporal patterning. Multiple regression analysis suggested that some acoustic features listeners may use to identify EMN include envelope shape, periodicity, and the consistency of temporal changes across frequency channels. Identification performance with high- and low-pass filtered environmental sounds varied in a manner similar to that of speech sounds, except that there seemed to be somewhat more information in the higher frequencies for the environmental sounds used in this experiment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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