Re: Innate responses to sound (Ross Rochford )

Subject: Re: Innate responses to sound
From:    Ross Rochford  <digiology@xxxxxxxx>
Date:    Fri, 23 May 2008 18:14:11 +0100

Hi all, Thanks for the responses, the best I have come across so far is John Neuhoff's paper 'An Adaptive Bias in the Perception of Looming Auditory Motion" (thanks Camille for forwarding my question to John). It outlines experiments in which listeners overestimated the loudness of approaching sounds and underestimated the distance but not for receding sounds (decrease in volume or increase in distance). He argues that this is an adapted bias toward approaching sounds providing an early warning to potential threats. I wonder if this overestimation of loudness would be more likely in sounds approaching listeners from behind (where response time may be more urgent due). A few replies have hinted on enquiring along these lines. Bruno Giordano noted that later development in the visual system leads to a wider focus of all available sensory information the result being that (at least in vision) a miss is worse than a false alarm. John Neuhoff's paper suggests that there is some overshooting of auditory perception of loudness but its unclear if this changes during a person's development. David Mountain suggested looking into rhythm, although I was referring to timbre in my question, it had never dawned on me that rhythm must also play an important role in identifying approaching sounds. Its much like how I can tell which of my family members are walking up the stairs based on their characteristic rhythm. I will look into this. Thanks again for all your help. Ross

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