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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1993 Apr;19(2):250-67.

Common factors in the identification of an assortment of brief everyday sounds.

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U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, District of Columbia 20375-5337.

Erratum in

  • J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 1993 Aug;19(4):829.
  • J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 1993 Dec;19(6):1182.


Acoustic, ecological, perceptual and cognitive factors that are common in the identification of 41 brief, varied sounds were evaluated. In Experiment 1, identification time and accuracy, causal uncertainty values, and spectral and temporal properties of the sounds were obtained. Experiment 2 was a survey to obtain ecological frequency counts. Experiment 3 solicited perceptual-cognitive ratings. Factor analyses of spectral parameters and perceptual-cognitive ratings were performed. Identification time and causal uncertainty are highly interrelated, and both are related to ecological frequency and the presence of harmonics and similar spectral bursts. Experiments 4 and 5 used a priming paradigm to verify correlational relationships between identification time and causal uncertainty and to assess the effect of sound typicality. Results support a hybrid approach for theories of everyday sound identification.

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