Timbre perception of sounds from impacted materials: behavioral, electrophysiological and acoustic approaches


Authors: Aramaki M., Besson M., Kronland-Martinet R., Ystad S.
Publication Date: August 2009
Journal: Post-proceedings of CMMR 2008 - Computer music modeling and retrieval: Genesis of meaning in sound and music (LNCS vol. 5493, pp. 1-17, Springer-Verlag Heidelberg, 2009)

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In this paper, timbre perception of sounds from 3 different impacted materials (Wood, Metal and Glass) was examined using a categorization task. Natural sounds were recorded, analyzed and resynthesized and a sound morphing process was applied to construct sound continua between different materials. Participants were asked to categorize the sounds as Wood, Metal or Glass. Typical sounds for each category were defined on the basis of the behavioral data. The temporal dynamics of the neural processes involved in the categorization task were then examined for typical sounds by measuring the changes in brain electrical activity (Event-Related brain Potentials, ERPs). Analysis of the ERP data revealed that the processing of Metal sounds differed significantly from Glass and Wood sounds as early as 150 ms and up to 700 ms. The association of behavioral, electrophysiological and acoustic data allowed us to investigate material categorization: the importance of damping was confirmed and additionally, the relevancy of spectral content of sounds was discussed.