Medizinische Physik

Workshop on "Computational Audition"


T. Andringa - Pleasurable and annoying sounds and their impact on quality of life

The question that is usually central in Computational Audition is "how to model audition". The question what to model is less often addressed. Typical answers to the 'what'-question are either experimental results or typical functions that would make useful applications, like source recognition. But what is the main concern of audition for a living agent?

We have asked sound annoyed persons to describe which sounds they like, which they dislike, why some sounds are more annoying than others, and what impact annoying sounds have on their life. The results indicate a complex interplay of perception and cognition in which a number of different basic processes continually search for sonic reassurance (pleasant sounds). If this cannot be estimated (e.g., because reassuring sounds are masked by other - unpleasant - sounds) conscious processing is tasked with a more elaborate vigilance function that 1) requires a minimal arousal level and 2) that forces conscious processing to estimate the (ir)relevance of salient ambient sounds which distracts from self-selected tasks. This model and the considerations that led to it are discussed.

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