Discrimination / Identification (KEVIN AUSTIN )

Subject: Discrimination / Identification
Date:    Mon, 12 Oct 1998 07:36:04 -0400

Having no scientific training, I was caught by Pierre Divenyi's comment that ... [snip] > I would venture >pointing out that (as they have shown) identification and discrimination >can be regarded as esentially identical processes. I have (intuitively) come to the place of finding the following, not clearly segregated, sequence in learning (training), particularly in ear-training acknowledgement (of source) discrimination ... [ reproduction ] identification ... [ notation ] If I understand correctly, this would mean (something like, eg the identification of intervals, or pianos), that there are / would be a set of parameters that the listener has established to discriminate that two (or more) stimuli are different. There are likely sub-steps to this process in the identification of intervals, starting with: are these two notes (piano sounds) the same. This is made more complex with intervals if the two sounds come from two different instruments (eg flute and horn, sampled Yamaha 9' and a different Yamaha 9'). Identification would seem to require some sort of mental template to have been established, that can reliably be called upon to compare the stimulus to. (eg with intervals, what is the sound of a major 3rd ascending). If this ability involves the same process as identification, then it would seem likely that many (most?) people would be able to move from discrimination to identification through training. It has been my experience (with liberal arts music students), that there are some people who never acquire the skill of interval (or chord!) identifiction in a reliable, repeatable, long-term manner. Frequently this is attributed to poor memory/recall. A completely unscientific survey of mine (accumulated experience) informs me that frequently, context plays as very large part in this process of identification. Intervals (for most people that I have taught) appear not to be two notes sounding together, but a collection of data related to (western european) concepts of tonality, ie a set of relationships between objects, rather than the objects themselves. This may relate to the 'piano discrimination' issue, since few people have listened intently to single notes on a piano, and likely even fewer have more than 20% of this experience from in front of an acoustic instrument. If the subjects have listened to any pop music, over a variety of loudspeakers (eg car, home, headphones, studio, kitchen), there may not be a sense of the 'identity' of a piano. And this varies with how a piano was recorded, and the processing that the sound underwent. Acoustic pianos also have resonances which are always present (artifacts of identity), notably that the dampers do not entirely mute all vibration from the lower strings, and that the upper strings are undamped. It could be that discrimination will work on the basis of the artifacts, but the recognition/identification works on other information (but, as proposed, through the same process). Best Kevin kaustin(at)vax2.concordia.ca Email to AUDITORY should now be sent to AUDITORY(at)lists.mcgill.ca LISTSERV commands should be sent to listserv(at)lists.mcgill.ca Information is available on the WEB at http://www.mcgill.ca/cc/listserv

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DAn Ellis <dpwe@ee.columbia.edu>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University