Home > Events > Dissertation Defense: Mattson Ogg (NACS)
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Dissertation Defense: Mattson Ogg (NACS)

Time: 
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Location: 
0211 Cole Student Activities Building

 

Mattson Ogg (NACS/PSYC)

The Acoustic Factors That Influence Auditory Object And Event Recognition Over Time

Abstract: Throughout the course of a given day, human listeners encounter an immense variety of sounds in their environment. These are quickly transformed into mental representations of objects and events in the world, which guide more complex cognitive processes and behaviors. Through five experiments in this dissertation, I investigated the rapid formation of auditory object and event representations (i.e., shortly after sound onset) with a particular focus on understanding what acoustic information the auditory system uses to support this recognition process. The first three experiments analyzed behavioral (dissimilarity ratings in Experiment 1; duration-gated identification in Experiment 2) and neural (MEG decoding in Experiment 3) responses to a diverse array of natural sound recordings as a function of the acoustic qualities of the stimuli and their temporal development alongside participants’ concurrently developing responses. The findings from these studies highlight the importance of acoustic qualities related to noisiness, spectral envelope, spectrotemporal change over time, and change in fundamental frequency over time for sound recognition. Two additional studies further tested these results via synthesized stimuli that explicitly manipulated these acoustic cues, interspersed among a new set of natural sounds. Findings from these acoustic manipulations as well as replications of my previous findings (with new stimuli and tasks) again revealed the importance of aperiodicity, spectral envelope, spectral variability and fundamental frequency in sound-category representations. Moreover, analyses of the synthesized stimuli suggested that aperiodicity is a particularly robust cue for some categories and that speech is difficult to characterize acoustically, at least based on this set of acoustic dimensions and synthesis approach. While the study of the perception of these acoustic cues has a long history, a fuller understanding of how these qualities contribute to natural auditory object recognition in humans has been difficult to glean. This is in part because behaviorally important categories of sound (studied together in this work) have previously been studied in isolation. By bringing these literatures together over these five experiments, this dissertation begins to outline a feature space that encapsulates many different behaviorally relevant sounds with dimensions related to aperiodicity, spectral envelope, spectral variability and fundamental frequency.