Re: Online listening tests and psychoacoutics experiments with large N (Matthew James Wright )

Subject: Re: Online listening tests and psychoacoutics experiments with large N
From:    Matthew James Wright  <matt@xxxxxxxx>
Date:    Tue, 3 Jul 2007 08:17:54 -0700

I've also received IRB approval (from Stanford) for my research protocol: In fact, they let it be "expedited" and didn't require a formal consent process, because: 1) There's a certain difficulty in downloading, installing, and running any software, which weeds out a lot of people who shouldn't take the experiment. 2) The recruitment email states that subjects must be at least 18 years old. 3) The software has a series of opening click-through screens starting with a short agreement (which is technically not an "consent"). 4) The opening volume adjustment screen starts from zero gain and exhorts subjects to increase the volume slowly until reaching a comfortable listening level so as to protect their hearing. 5) The software forces at least 1-minute break every 15 minutes. 6) Subjects can do the whole thing anonymously if they desire. 7) Subjects have an optional final step of actually sending back the results, so they can bail out at any point in the experiment. 8) There's no deception; subjects (and all of you!) can inspect the sound files and software. In terms of the question about controlling for what subjects actually hear, I'm just asking them to say what kind of sound system they're using, and giving them full control over volume. All the software is in Max/MSP running locally on the subject's computer, so I have complete control of what the subject a lot of flexibility in the UI and interaction design. In my case I'm looking at perceptual rhythmic alignment of various sounds against each other, so the user adjusts the relative timing (to the individual audio sample if desired) of various samples in downloaded wav files. Max generates an HTML file containing an email message to me that I then parse in Matlab. I'd be very happy to collaborate if anybody else wanted to build from any of my (GPL) software: -Matt p.s. Sorry about my sloppy mischaracterization of (Honing, 2006) as being the first use of the online listening experiment paradigm! Dan Ellis said: > We've done a couple of web-based experiments > through our IRB. We were able to get them exempt > on the basis that the listening tests involved no risk > to the subjects, that we kept absolutely no personal > data (indeed, it was completely anonymous), and > that we had a click-through consent form in which > they asserted they were at least 18 and we told > them who to complain to. > > We've gotten pretty good response rates (several > hundred people giving us their opinion on the similarities > between named pop musicians at the defunct, > or typing words to describe music clips a la ESP game > at ), but as to the repeatability > or control of conditions -- well, point taken. > > DAn. > > On 7/2/07, Pierre Divenyi <pdivenyi@xxxxxxxx> wrote: >> I see a looming danger, like a tiger hiding in >> the shade ready to jump on any US investigator >> actually running online listening experiments. >> The tiger is called the IRB. I mean, (pray tell) >> how the world would the investigator ensure >> protection of the unsuspecting web subject who >> takes part even in 15 minutes of listening? Those >> not living under the tutelage of Institutional >> Review Boards may have no idea what it takes to >> get approval even for our obviously unthreatening >> listening experiments and how serious the >> consequences of even the slightest infringements >> of their often arbitrary rules could be. I am >> sure many of our colleagues have a few personally >> experienced horror stories to tell. The large-N >> studies for those boards spell simply "NO". >> >> Pierre

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DAn Ellis <>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University