Deriving salient perceptual features from triadic comparisons

  • Wickelmaier, Florian Maria (Project Participant)
  • Ellermeier, Wolfgang (Project Participant)

Project Details


One of the pertinent unresolved problems in psychoacoustics is to find out which auditory sensations are elicited by acoustic stimuli. In this project, a feature-based representation of auditory stimuli is proposed, and tested experimentally. Within a measurement-theoretical framework it can be decided whether a representation of subjective judgments by a set of auditory features is possible, and how unique such a representation is. Further, the new method avoids the confusion of perceptual and verbal abilities of the listeners, in that it strictly separates the process of identifying auditory features from labeling them. In a first study, the approach was applied to simple synthetic sounds with well-defined physical properties (narrow-band noises and complex tones). For each stimulus triad, listeners had to judge whether the first two sounds displayed a common feature which was not shared by the third, by responding with a simple "yes," or "no". Due to the high degree of consistency in the responses, feature structures could be obtained for most of the subjects. In a second study, different formats of audio reproduction (mono, stereo, and various multi-channel formats) were investigated. For more than half of the sample, representations resulted which allow for interesting conclusions about the auditory features which characterize these complex sounds. In summary, the proposed procedure constitutes a valuable supplement to the arsenal of psychometric methods where the main focus is on identifying the type of sensation itself, rather than measuring its threshold or magnitude. (Center contract)
Effective start/end date31/12/200731/12/2007


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