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Stimulus properties of sound streams

Dear List Members,
I am conducting research on the development of a sonfiication of physiological variables for use in anaesthesia. My interest is in the control of attention when working with an auditory information display that uses sound streams. Specific questions I am planning to address are -
  1. what properties of the sound streams make it easy or difficult for the listener to pre-attentively perceive a change in the display,
  2. what properties facilitate the voluntary direction of attention to the changing auditory dimensions within a stream, for eg. pitch and/or tempo, so that information about the variable of interest can be extracted.
I am wondering whether anyone has some thoughts about whether auditory stimulus dimensions can be integral or separable, along the lines of Garner's (1970, 1974)classification of visual stimuli. Integral dimensions facilitate tasks where both dimensions are attended to, but interfere with tasks where one dimension is attended to. Separable dimensions have the opposite effect. While there are some reports in the literature of integral auditory dimensions such as pitch and loudness, I haven't seen any reference to separable dimensions, and in fact I'm wondering whether this is a concept that could be applied to sound stimuli. The other concept I'm wondering about is auditory emergent features. Visual emergent features have a strong facilitative effect on monitoring performance - what would an auditory emergent feature within a sound stream be like?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated,
Jan Anderson
PhD Student
Swinburne Computer-Human Interaction Laboratory (SCHIL)
Swinburne University of Technology
Melbourne, Australia
Tel: 9214 8739
E-mail: janet@it.swin.edu.au