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Re: sex differences in perception of environmental sounds

I agree with Bruno here; in either case (living or non-living environmental sounds), perception of causality is going on. In living sounds, that includes not only the structure of the sounding object, but the intentionality; the contents (semantic and prosodic)of vocalisations help in this, but let's face it, you can hear intentionality in movement of living things, even without any vocalisation (as in 'purposeful movement', so symbolic content can't be the only way we can access the content's of another's mind.
So really, we are just arguing about how to sub-categorise 'environmental sounds'

-----Original Message-----
From: AUDITORY - Research in Auditory Perception [mailto:AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Bruno L. Giordano
Sent: 18 May 2010 16:00
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: sex differences in perception of environmental sounds

Hello Guillaume et al.,

> All our sounds were "sound of objects", so we had nothing like baby
> crying. And, in my opinion, environmental sounds do not include human
> vocalizations. Personally, I always use Vanderveer's definition [2]:
> "... any possible audible acoustic event which is caused by motions in
> the ordinary human environment. (...) Besides 1) having real events as
> their sources (...) 2) [they] are usually more ``complex'' than
> laboratory sinusoids, (...) 3) [they] are meaningful, in the sense that
> they specify events in the environment. (...) 4) The sounds to be
> considered are not part of a communication system, or communication
> sounds, they are taken in their literal rather than signal or symbolic
> interpretation."

In my personal opinion we shouldn't use such a restrictive definition of
environmental sounds. Your definition (and that of Vanderveer)
corresponds approximately to the category of nonliving environmental sounds.

Research on environmental sounds is a precious opportunity to finally
direct the attention of the research community towards the complexity of
the everyday acoustical environment. If we constraint the definition of
environmental sounds we constrain the research field and miss this

For the comparative weight of symbolic and sensory(acoustical)
information in the cognitive processing of different categories of
environmental sounds see Giordano et al. (2010): with baby cries
symbolic information seems to be more relevant than with "hammering
nail" (surprise surprise). Again, in my opinion and I assume in that of
several other researchers in this field, baby cries are nonetheless
environmental sounds.


   author = {B. L. Giordano and J. McDonnell and S. McAdams},
   title = {Hearing living symbols and nonliving icons:
category-specificities in the cognitive processing of environmental sounds},
   journal = {Brain \& Cognition},
   year = {2010},
   volume = {73},
   pages = {7-19}

Bruno L. Giordano, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
CIRMMT - Schulich School of Music
555 Sherbrooke Street West
Montréal, QC H3A1E3
+1 514 398 4535, Ext. 00900 (office)
+1 514 398 2962 (fax)

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