recent advances in dynamic, cognitive, and ecological investigations
of auditory perception and ties this work to findings in
more traditional areas of psychoacoustics. The book illuminates
some of the converging evidence that is beginning to emerge
from these traditionally divergent fields, providing a scientifically
rigorous, "real world" perspective on auditory
perception, cognition, and action. In a natural listening
environment almost all sounds are dynamic, complex, and
heard concurrently with other sounds. Yet, historically,
traditional psychoacoustics has examined the perception
of static, impoverished stimuli presented in isolation.
"Ecological Psychoacoustics" examines recent
work that challenges some of the traditional ideas about
auditory perception that were established with these impoverished
stimuli and provides a focused look at the perceptual processes
that are more likely to occur in natural settings.
a robot were equipped with all the human capacities that we have
come to understand through traditional auditory psychophysics, and
set loose in a natural environment to learn something about it through
the sounds that were made both by the robot and its environment,
it would be able to function mainly as a rather imprecise tape recorder,
except that it could detect the pitch, loudness, and location of
isolated tones and noise bursts (if it happened to come upon any).
As soon as it encountered more than one sound at a time, or had
to interpret patterns of sound extending over time, or was required
to coordinate its sound-based knowledge with that provided by its
other senses, it would be lost. Neuhoff's groundbreaking book represents
the work of innovative researchers who are trying to achieve a scientific
understanding of the perceptual and cognitive processes that use
sound to achieve an understanding of the environment. We have a
long way to go before we have enough knowledge to equip a robot
with a human's auditory skills, but the work reported in this volume
represents an important beginning."
Bregman, Emeritus Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
psychoacoustics pairs two fields of the study of auditory perception
(ecological perception and psychoacoustics) that have rarely been
paired. In fact, many in each field might argue that the pairing
is a contradiction. However, the chapters in Ecological Psychoacoustics
suggest many reasons why combining the rigor of psychoacoustics
with the relevance of ecological perception could improve significantly
the understanding of auditory perception in the world of real sound
sources. Real-world sounds are complex, but they also are physically
constrained. Psychoacoustics has produced a wealth of knowledge
about sensory processing of simple sounds, especially by the auditory
periphery. It is becoming clear that understanding the complex auditory
scene of real-world sounds will require substantial new information
about how the central auditory nervous system processes the complex
sounds from real-world sources. Ecological Psychoacoustics provides
many examples of how understanding and using information about the
constraints of real-world sound sources may aid in discovering how
the nervous system parses an auditory scene. Thus, Ecological Psychoacoustics
will help define a new field of perception."
A. Yost, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of The Graduate
School, Loyola University Chicago, U.S.A.
articles in this book represent an important step in creating a
coherent theory about perceiving naturally occurring auditory events
and their relationship to things in the world. Even though each
chapter has a traditional title, the content of each one is non-traditional,
and each conveys the advantages and excitement of matching the acoustic
characteristics of real world sounds to the physiological properties
of the auditory system and to complex perceptual phenomena. All
of the articles emphasize that listening occurs in a context that
includes information from other senses, requires focused attending,
and involves hypothesis testing about probable causes. This book
will move auditory theory squarely into the auditory world."
Handel, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, U.S.A.
book helps to set basic hearing research into a more cognitive theoretical
context while maintaining the rigorous standards for experimental
evidence so well developed by traditional psychoacoustics. Ecological
Psychoacoustics will have a beneficial effect on the field, encouraging
research workers to take a more cognitive and ecological perspective
when choosing experimental questions."
Darwin, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK