How Do We Hear in the World?: Explorations in Ecological Acoustics

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Everyday listening is the experience of hearing events in the world rather than sounds per se. In this article, I explore the acoustic basis of everyday listening as a start toward understanding how sounds near the ear can indicate remote physical events. Information for sound-producing events and their dimensions is investi­ gated using physical analyses of events to inform acoustic analyses of the sounds they produce. The result is a variety of algorithms which enable the synthesis of sounds made by basic-level events such as impacts, scraping, and dripping, as well as by more complex events such as bouncing, breaking, spilling, and machinery. These algorithms may serve as instantiated hypotheses about the acoustic infor­ mation for events. Analysis and synthesis work together in their development:Just as analyses of the physics and acoustics of sound-producing events may inform synthesis, so listening to the results of synthesis may inform analysis. This raises several issues concerning evaluation, specification, and the tension between formal and informal physical analyses. In the end, however, the fundamental test of these algorithms is in the sounds they produce: I describe them in enough detail here that readers may implement, test, and extend them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-318
JournalEcological Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993

Research Group keywords

  • Interaction Research Studio

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