The rhythm of life is a powerful beat: sensitivity to auditory biological motion cues

Cottrell, David (2012) The rhythm of life is a powerful beat: sensitivity to auditory biological motion cues. In: International Journal of Psychology (47) p. 112. From: XXX International Congress of Psychology, 22-27 July 2012, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Upon hearing footsteps in the hall one instantly recognises that a person is approaching. Exactly how we do this is unclear. It is well known that we can recognise a moving person from no more than lights attached to their joints, but comparable auditory biological motion research is lacking. Two sets of experiments explored recognition of auditory stimuli of biological and non-biological origin. First, 22 undergraduates (15 female, mean age 26.8) completed a series of 2AFC signal-detection tasks that compared sensitivity to three stimuli: footsteps, a bouncing ball and drumbeats. The ball traversed the same course as the walker thus controlling for translational cues. The drumbeats were matched to the walker’s cadence. When individual sounds were presented in noise, participants were no more sensitive to footsteps than to the non-biological sounds. In the second series of experiments we presented pairs of stimuli and asked a different set of 40 undergraduates (28 female, mean age 26.5) to discriminate between the stimuli. Under these conditions the biological stimuli were identified more easily that the non-biological stimuli whenever the cadence of the non-biological stimulus differed from that of a walker. Given that the sound a foot-strike makes depends on both the characteristics of the walker and the surface on which they are walking, cadence might be the most reliable cue to an unseen moving human. In this specific case it might approximate what J. J. Gibson termed "a perceptual invariant".

Item ID: 22535
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
ISSN: 1464-066X
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International Journal of Psychology, Volume 47, Supplement 1, 2012 Special Issue: XXX International Congress of Psychology

Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2012 02:42
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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