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Contribution of Peak Events to Overall Loudness

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The general topic of this work was to investigate whether humans apply unifying principles to form retrospective overall loudness assessments of noise episodes. In three within-subjects factorial design of experiments, the contribution of systematically varied peak and background magnitudes to the assessment of overall loudness was studied. It was observed that the loudness level of peak and background contributed significantly to the assessments of overall loudness. The complete absence of any interaction between peak and background level in the experiments suggests additivity. The experimental findings underline the relevance of the average of momentary perceptual levels to the overall assessment of the whole episode. This means that if participants are requested to judge the overall loudness of noises, then participants did not deliberately ignore certain parts of the presented noise episodes. This applies for the considered bounded episodes of duration of 10 s having a recognizable start and end. Factorial design is frequently criticized, because it draws participants' attention to the manipulated variables and provides strong clues to the participants about the experimenter's hypothesis probably resulting in demand characteristics. Therefore, further experiments were performed, where the noise stimuli from the factorial design of experiment were judged in diff erent stimuli contexts. First, filler material was added to the stimuli set to obscure the aim of the study and to distract attention from the systematically manipulated features. In a further experiment additional overall sound assessments were requested besides the assessment of overall loudness. It was observed that the importance of peak and background magnitudes was similar over all experimental conditions. As a tendency, it can be stated that the introduced measures to obfuscate the study aim distracting from the manipulated features lead to a greater cognitive averaging of the momentary experiences and to a less importance of distinct peak events for the overall assessment of the whole sound episode.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2015

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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