NCBI ROFL: And the most boring study of the year award goes to…

By ncbi rofl | July 26, 2011 7:00 pm

Identification of sounds from traffic.

“Listeners’ ability to identify road-traffic, aircraft, or train sounds in environmental sound recordings was studied in a psychoacoustical experiment involving 16 participants. In free-labeling identification, excerpt traffic sounds were described in terms of “object” (sound-producing source) rather than in terms of perceptual attribute. The main sounds identified were traffic sounds, but a few references were also made to machine-related or water-related sources. Sounds from aircraft were easier to identify than the sounds from trains, which in turn were easier to identify than the sounds from road-traffic. This identification order was confirmed in multiple-choice and dominant-source identification tasks. Compared to free-labeling, multiple-choice identifications produced considerably more false alarms, i.e., identification of a sound source not present. For multiple-choice, several sound sources were particularly identified in the excerpt of road-traffic and train sounds although the (recorded) sound was typically clearly discerned in the joint dominant-source identification task. A comparison of the acoustic properties of the traffic sounds suggested that spectral rather than temporal cues were used in sound-source identification.”

Photo: flickr/Design By Zouny

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  • Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Boring but presumably important for safety.

    Especially IIRC now that electric cars proved themselves too silent, so need artificial sound to simulate current cars. Same with new low noise producing and absorbent road and road surrounding constructions. If you go whole hog, you can change the identification properties from traditional sound images to improved over time.

    I’m reminded of the study that addressed whether floor or wall mounted WCs made for easiest room cleaning, and so in the end better cleanliness vs homes, public places but most importantly hospitals. (With an “obvious” answer, which I believe turned out to be correct; wall sets doesn’t only look good, they work well.)

    “Don’t shit me”, was roughly the public response.


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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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