A cognitive framework for the categorisation of auditory objects in urban soundscapes

Woodcock, JS ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5654-5374, Davies, WJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5835-7489 and Cox, TJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4075-7564 2017, 'A cognitive framework for the categorisation of auditory objects in urban soundscapes' , Applied Acoustics, 121 , pp. 56-64.

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Categorisation is a fundamental cognitive process that plays a central role in everyday behaviour and action. Whereas previous studies have investigated the categorisation of isolated everyday sounds, this paper presents an experiment to investigate the cognitive categorisation of everyday sounds within their original context. A group of eighteen expert and non-expert listeners took part in a free sorting task using 110 sounds identified within ambisonic reproductions of urban soundscapes. The participants were asked to sort the objects into groups of sounds that served a similar purpose in the overall perception of the soundscape. Following this, the participants were asked to provide descriptive labels for the groups they had formed. The results were analysed using hierarchical agglomerative clustering and non-metric multidimensional scaling (MDS) to explore both the structure and dimensionality of the data. The resulting hierarchical clustering of objects show three top level categories relating to transient sounds, continuous sounds, and speech and vocalisations. Sub-categories were identified in each of the top level categories which included harmonic and non-harmonic continuous sounds, clear speech, unintelligible speech, vocalisations, transient sounds that indicate actions, and non-salient transient sounds. The first two dimensions revealed by the MDS analysis relate to temporal extent and intelligibility respectively. Interpretation of the third dimension is less clear, but may be related to harmonic content.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Applied Acoustics
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0003-682X
Related URLs:
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2017 14:00
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 21:40
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/41296

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