There was a related thread on the A-list a few years back on the relation between "height" and "pitch".
I posted a response(http://www.auditory.org/mhonarc/2003/msg00113.html) that seems relevent to Densil's comment:
Re: Height and pitch
A pitch scale, however, is not bound to a vertical dimension. In Java a tone is not something between low and high. It is something between big and small.
I don't mean to bang the same drum here, but there is also a sound localization basis for 'big' and 'small' as spatial attributes of tones. In fact, in the early days of experimental psychology, it was seriously doubted by many that the auditory system itself could localize sounds because sound didn't contain the characteristic of 'size' or extensivity (often called 'volume') like visual or tactile objects. These guys sought visual or tactile explanations for sound localization. Others argued that the sounds could indeed be localized by the auditory system and used as evidence the notion that lower frequency sounds appear larger and more extensive than higher frequency sounds which often appear smaller and more compact. That is, sounds did have 'volume.' Turns out that the spatial character of 'biggness' and 'smallness' of low and high frequency sounds is due to the presence of reflections and reverberation caused by the environments in which these sounds are produced. For example, low-frequency (particularly lateral) reflections cause a broadening of the image leading to a 'bigger' sound in terms of its 'volume', and this effect diminishes as frequency is increased.
From: AUDITORY - Research in Auditory Perception on behalf of Densil Cabrera
Sent: Tue 9/18/2007 9:44 PM
Subject: FW: cross-modality-size-loud
The idea of ‘auditory volume’ seems to be related to this discussion. Investigated mostly in the first decades of the 20th Century, auditory volume is a subjective judgment of the ‘size’ of sound – or more precisely, the size of the auditory image. That’s different to the size of a sound source, but it may be related ‘ecologically’. S.S. Stevens’ PhD thesis is about volume and loudness (Harvard 1933). The general findings in the early years was that judgments of size were positively correlated to sound pressure level, and negatively correlated to the frequency (of pure tones). Later research investigated the perceived size of noise bands (effect of bandwidth), the effect of duration, and the effect of interaural coherence.
Over the past 40 or so years, the concept of auditory image size has come to be considered important in auditorium acoustics and spatial audio. The most investigated parameter in those fields has been the interaural cross correlation function. However recent work by Russell Mason (in spatial audio) and Ingo Witew (in auditorium acoustics) seems to show some connection to the phenomena investigated in the auditory ‘volume’ literature.
You can confirm the phenomenon of sound pressure level affecting auditory image size by concealing a loudspeaker behind a curtain with a visual grid on it, and for various stimuli asking subjects to identify the edges of the (apparent) sound source. This is what we did some years ago in:
D. Cabrera and S. Tilley (2003) "Parameters for auditory display of height and size," 9th International Conference on Auditory Display, Boston , USA , 29-32. (available from www.icad.org). [By the way, if anyone is interested in the other aspect of that paper – pitch-height vs vertical localization, we have recently published on that: D. Cabrera and M. Morimoto (2007) "Influence of fundamental frequency and source elevation on the vertical localization of complex tones and complex tone pairs," Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 122(1), 478-488.]
Head, Acoustics Research Laboratory
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University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia
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On 17/09/2007, pieter jan stallen <pj.stallen@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Does anyone know of experimental psychological data reported which refutes (or not) the hypothesis: the perception of object O as "has much of quality X" predisposes to the perception also of "has much of quality Y"? E.g., is there empirical evidence for cross-modal bonds like "large objects (much of size) are loud objects (much of sound)" ?
Although I see brain research approaching the subject (e.g. http://www.dhushara.com/pdf/synesthesia.pdf ) I have not (yet) found so much empirical psychology about such metaphors. I may not have studied carefully enough the synaestesia literature, but appreciate any more specific 'forwardings' then.
Pieter Jan Stallen / Chair Community Noise Annoyance / University of Leiden / Netherlands
Dr. Bob Carlyon
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