Canadian Acoustics article reviewing amplitude envelope research

Canadian Acoustis June 2016We have documented several surprising findings related to the role of amplitude envelope in auditory processing in recent years.  From sensory integration to audio-visual association and even duration processing, the simplistic amplitude invariant sounds dominant in auditory research fail to generalize to sounds synthesized with the types of rapid changes common in natural sounds. 

In  this special issue of Canadian Acoustics, Dr. Schutz overviews a series of the lab’s recent findings on the crucial role of amplitude envelope in auditory processing. He also discusses the important implications of this work for a variety of applied situations, including the design of auditory alarms in medical devices which have not yet realized their potential for improving patient monitoring in hospital settings.

Talk for the Ebbinghaus Empire Series at UofT

Toronto, Ontario

uoftlogo Dr. Schutz gave a talk for the Ebbinghaus Empire Series at the University of Toronto titled “Dynamic sounds and perceptual processes: The surprising role of amplitude envelope in auditory perception.”  In his talk, he reviewed the MAPLE Lab’s growing body of work on amplitude envelope (the shape of a sound over time) and its often overlooked importance in the process of audio-visual integration.  An archived video of the presentation can be viewed below.  For more information on these topics, please visit our pages on amplitude envelope and audio-visual integration.

Lorraine Chuen successfully defends her M.Sc. Thesis on the unity assumption

lorrainechuen portraitGraduate student Lorraine Chuen successfully defended her M.Sc. thesis, titled “Evaluating the influence of audiovisual unity in temporal binding of musical stimuli” and will now graduate with her Masters degree. She will soon be moving to Toronto to work at the MaRS Discovery District as a Studio [Y] Fellow.

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Dominique presents preliminary research at Acoustical Society of America meeting

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia

ASA-Logo-Name-283x300DominiqueDominique Beauregard Cazabon presented a poster at the Acoustical Society of America’s spring meeting.  The poster was entitled “The effect of amplitude envelope on spatial ventriloquism” and presented results from a pilot study aiming to determine whether amplitude envelope affects the way we integrate audiovisual information in the spatial dimension.  This is the first step in a series of experiments aimed at exploring the role of temporal structure in the spatial localization of sounds.

New amplitude envelope findings now accepted for publication in the journal Perception

Perception   Collaborative work with former visiting graduate student Guillaume Vallet and McMaster colleague Dr. David Shore resulted in a new paper, “Exploring the role of amplitude envelope in duration estimations” in the journal Perception. This work explores the underlying strategies used to process sounds with natural dynamic temporal structures. Specifically, it contrasts these strategies with those used in processing the simplistic artificial sounds frequently used in auditory research.

Jonny publishes “Surveying the Temporal Structure of Sounds Used” in Music Perception

Jonny Vaisberg Journal of Music perception Lab alumni Jonny Vaisberg (’13) published an exhaustive “survey of sounds” exploring the temporal structures of auditory research published in the journal Music Perception. This paper builds on a previous bibliometric survey of topics by Anna Tirovolas and Dan Levitin, and shows that a great deal of work on auditory perception focuses on sounds with unnatural temporal structures.  We are interested in better understanding the types of sounds used in auditory research, given several lab projects demonstrating clear differences in the perceptual processing of tones with natural vs. artificial temporal structures.


Arts Research Board (ARB) grant for “Surveying the sounds used in auditory perception research”

This $5,244 award to Dr. Schutz assisted our ongoing efforts to survey the types of sounds used in auditory research. This extended the lab’s previous survey work, complementing our ongoing experimental study of amplitude envelope’s role in perceptual tasks such as sensory integration, associative memory, and the choice of duration judgment strategies. For more information see our ARB funding page listing each of the lab’s awards from this agency. Survey

“What the beep? Why Digital Sounds Are So Annoying” features lab work on amplitude envelope

Life’s Little Mysteries writer Anthony McGovern wrote a story exploring why the sounds frequently used in electronic devices (i.e. alarm clocks, microwave ovens, etc) are so annoying, and ways to improve their use in the future.  The article featured some of our research (done in conjunction with collaborator Dr. Jeanine Stefanucci) demonstrating that products using percussive tones are more desirable than similar products using the traditional artificial-sounding “beeps” frequently employed.  For a quick overview of amplitude envelope, see here