Perceiving the Gist of Auditory Information at Brief Exposures

Megan Schulte, Holly Ambruso, and Dr. Melissa Gregg, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha WI 53141-2000

Research in the visual perception literature has revealed that human observers can perceive the gist of a visual scene in as little as a quarter of a second. This body of literature has indicated many global image features that human observers use to perform a quick analysis of visual gist, such as degree of openness. While the research on visual gist perception has provided information on how human observers perceive and recognize visual scenes, there is no corresponding research on auditory gist perception. The purpose of this study was to determine whether observers could use global sound features to complete a rapid categorization task with environmental sound stimuli. In Experiment 1, participants rated a set of 200 environmental sounds on four global sound features: degree of animacy, degree of density, degree of movement, and degree of naturalness. Participants completed their ratings on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being the lowest degree and 7 being the highest degree. In Experiment 2, participants were required to detect whether a target was present in a sequential series of three sounds that were similar or distinct in global sound features (animacy, density, movement, naturalness). There were 100 target present trials and 100 target absent trials. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that environmental sounds differ in degree of animacy, density, movement, and naturalness. The results of Experiment 2 revealed that participants were slower and less accurate on trials in which the sounds were similar on a global sound feature, which indicates that the global sound features were more influential on perception than the basic level category information. These findings suggest that auditory gist perception is a remarkably rapid process, and that observers use global features that are related to the ecological properties of scenes to extract auditory gist information.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Megan Schulte, Holly Ambruso

Institution: University of Wisconsin - Parkside

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7099