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auditory perception test signals

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I thought the following might be of interest to those interested in Auditory perception?


I recently came across this 2014 paper from Journal of Acoustical Society of America called "Temporal predictability enhances auditory detection" which finds that "Our study supports the hypothesis that sounds are more easily detected when they are the continuation of a temporally predictable sequence."



"Periodic stimuli are common in natural environments and are ecologically relevant, for example, footsteps and vocalizations. This study reports a detectability enhancement for temporally cued, periodic sequences. Target noise bursts (embedded in background noise) arriving at the time points which followed on from an introductory, periodic“cue” sequence were more easily detected (by 1.5 dB SNR) than identical noise bursts which randomly deviated from the cued temporal pattern.Temporal predictability and corresponding neuronal “entrainment” have been widely theorized to underlie important processes in auditory scene analysis and to confer perceptual advantage. This is the first study in the auditory domain to clearly demonstrate a perceptual enhancement of temporally predictable, near-threshold stimuli."



"Hence, the temporal cueing provided by the established periodic sequence can lower detection thresholds for stimuli by approximately 1.5 dB SNR on average, although the effect size varies considerably across participants, with a lowering of thresholds by as much as 3–5 dB SNR for several participants, and with five participants showing the reverse, or no improvement"


"5. Conclusions This study demonstrates a detectability enhancement for temporally predictable near threshold auditory stimuli. Periodic broadband noise-bursts (embedded in background broadband noise) that followed the introductory repetition rate were significantly easier to correctly detect at lower signal-to-noise levels than aperiodic bursts. The effect was modest, with a 1.5 dB SNR detection advantage conferred to the periodic stimuli relative to the aperiodic. This phenomenon is ecologically adaptive, boosting detection of relevant periodic auditory stimuli such as footsteps in background noise. Additionally,our result offers a psychophysical correlate and perceptual function for the phenomenon of neural entrainment."

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I posted this as I found it an interesting paper in support of what some of us have been saying with regard to using audio test signals which are more cognisant of the understandings emerging from research into how we hear (Auditory Scene Analysis). Some of us put forth the idea that using these sorts of test signals would better establish (or come closer to) the limits of what is audible. Too many seem to take the Fletcher-Munson curves as absolutes & this just throws some light on how the concept of "absolutes" is an unscientific principle.

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