Emoacoustics: a study on the physical and psychological dimensions of sound design
Paper in proceedings, 2010
Psychoacoustical research provided indispensible knowledge on how human audition works, which is necessary for successful sound design applications. It may, however, be argued that traditional psychoacoustics, in its narrow focus on signal characteristics, has neglected listener and contextual characteristics. Thus, to demonstrate the influence of meaning the listener attaches to a sound we used an FFT processing to reduce the identifiability of 18 environmental sounds, since source identification is central to meaning attribution. In a listening experiment, 20 subjects listened to and rated all the processed stimuli first and then original stimuli, without being aware of the existence of two sets. Another 20 subjects rated only the processed stimuli, which were primed by their original counterparts. This manipulation was used in order to see the difference when the subject could tell what the sound source is. In both tests subjects rated their emotional experience for each stimulus on the orthogonal dimensions of valence and arousal, as well as perceived annoyance and perceived loudness for each stimulus. They were also asked to identify the sound source. It was found that processing caused correct identification to reduce substantially, while priming recovered most of the identification. While original stimuli induced a wide range of emotional experience, reactions to processed stimuli were affectively neutral. Priming manipulation reversed the effects of processing to some extent. Moreover, even though Zwickers-loudness value of most of the stimuli was reduced after processing, perceived loudness was only decreased for affectively negative stimuli.