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SUMMARY: Online experiments/demonstrations for introductory teaching on auditory perception

Dear list,

first of all, thanks again to all colleagues who responded to my request. Several list members asked me to send a summary of the links I received, which I'm of course happy to do.

Although many fascinating auditory demos are available, only very few exist that "collect data", that is, allow the listener to complete a block of trials and then either present a short analysis of his/her data or (even better) save the results in an online database. I am particularly interested in this type of online experiments/demos, because it would give the students the opportunity to look at their own performance in some auditory task, or to analyze the data for all students in their seminar and include this in their presentation of a research topic. The few "data collecting" demos I found are mostly for "higher level" phenomena like memory. This is not surprising because for basic phenomena like measuring hearing levels, intensity discrimination or so, we normally want to have very controlled listening conditions (sound proof both, calibrated equipment). Still, for purposes of teaching, it would be great if more "data collecting" demos would be available, even though the data will of course not be useful for publications or so. 
I hope I did not forget anyone/anything. If I did, feel free to add to this topic ;-)




1) Online experiments/demos with data collection

* Demo on Diana Deutsch's work on pitch memory (compare the pitch of two tones, with several "distractor" tones with varying pitch presented between them): http://opl.apa.org/Students/ParticipateInClass.aspx?EID=16 . This experiment runs on the American Psychological Association "Online Psychology Lab" platform, which allows teachers to create a new "class ID" for an existing experiment. The trial-by-trial data for each subject are saved in an online data base, and it is possible to download only the data for the own class, or for up to 20 classes simultaneously. The site also provides a description of the research topic, the experiment, some recommendations for data analysis, and references (http://opl.apa.org/Experiments/About/AboutPitchMemory.aspx). I think this is the type of online experiments we should have also for some basic phenomena in hearing!

* Cocktail-party listening: http://www.gocognitive.net/sites/default/files/selective.Attention.10_0.swf. This demo is on auditory selective attention / cocktail-party listening. Streams of digits are presented from three virtual speaker positions, and the task is to respond to the target speaker and ignore the other speakers (go/no-go task, respond to a target digit). Does not save data, but displays the number of hits/misses/false alarms across a block of 100 trials. 

* The "Interactive Sensation Laboratory Exercises (ISLE)" by John H. Krantz and  Bennett L. Schwartz (http://isle.hanover.edu/isle.html ) includes some auditory tasks in the section on Research Methods, for example frequency discrimination in a 2IFC constant stimuli setting. Some stimulus characteristics (standard frequency, duration) can be selected, as well as some parameters of the method. I found the distinction between a 2IFC task with the question "Was the second tone higher? Yes/no" and the question "Which tone was higher? First or second?" confusing. The first seems to be a same-different task where either both frequencies are the same, or the second frequency is higher. But otherwise the tasks work well and a simple plot of the psychometric function is provided, as well table containing the data. Also included is a magnitude estimation task for the loudness of pure tones.


2) Demos without data collection

* The well-known CDs with auditory demos are of course still available: http://www.auditory.org/democds.html . An online version of the IPO CD can be found here: http://www.feilding.net/sfuad/musi3012-01/demos/audio/ , and binaural demos from the ASA CD here: http://web.mit.edu/hst.723/www/Labs/BinauralDemos.htm 

* Al Bregman kindly offers his complete CD on auditory scene analysis for download: http://webpages.mcgill.ca/staff/Group2/abregm1/web/downloadsdl.htm 

* Diana Deutsch provides a website with demos on illusions and some other phenomena from her research: http://deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/pages.php?i=201 

* Jan Schnupp's companion website for the book "Auditory neuroscience" contains listening examples for spatial hearing, stream segregation etc.: http://auditoryneuroscience.com/. One under spatial hearing on ITDs and ILDs is set up as a formal experiment, but requires Matlab (http://auditoryneuroscience.com/topics/ITD-ILD-practical).

* The companion website for Richard M. Warren's book "Auditory Perception: An Analysis and Synthesis" contains listening examples: http://www4.uwm.edu/APL/demonstrations.html


3) Non-online stand-alone software

* Marc Schönwiesner provides interesting course material (in French) and Matlab scripts for listening tests. www.brams.umontreal.ca/slab/teaching-materials/psy2007s 

* Bob Masta's Daqarta for Windows sound cards can be used free of charge to run for example an experiment on Zwicker tones (http://www.daqarta.com/dw_yy00.htm ).

* Massimo Grassi's free MATLAB toolbox for auditory testing (http://www.psy.unipd.it/~grassi/psychoacoustics.html) can be used to program experiments with adaptive staircases if a Matlab installation is available.

PD Dr. Daniel Oberfeld-Twistel
Johannes Gutenberg - Universitaet Mainz
Department of Psychology
Experimental Psychology
Wallstrasse 3
55122 Mainz

Phone ++49 (0) 6131 39 39274 
Fax   ++49 (0) 6131 39 39268