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Perception and Psychoacoustics - HOPE COLLEGE STUDENTS ONLY

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Perception and Psychoacoustics: Variation Across Gender, Ethnicity, and Age

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Project Description:

NOTE: This project is Open ONLY for students who have already received confirmation from Dr. Trent-Brown. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Have you ever listened to a person you don't know--maybe over the phone or on the radio? Do you somehow get a picture in your mind of what that person looks like; male or female, old or young, ethnicity? Have you later met or seen the person? How close was the image in your mind to what the person actually looked like? Were you right on target or far off? We know that speakers vary with respect to certain parameters and are very similar on others. Speakers vary enough so that our brains can learn the patterns of familiar voices, which is why we often know which of our family members or friends is calling as soon as they've said, "Hello!" However, there are perceptual constraints on speaker-to-speaker variation; otherwise, every new person we met could sound so different that they might appear to be speaking another language! The "speaker normalization problem" addresses this issue--how is it that we are able to interpret perceptual similarity when there is acoustic variability? What information in the voice does the brain use to help us create the image of the speaker? How accurate are we in making these perceptual decisions? This project explores these questions. Participation in this lab will involve hands-on experience with perceptual data collection, programming of an interactive computer program for perceptual and reaction time data collection, acoustical analysis of auditory stimuli, data reduction and statistical analysis. Participants will also complete training and certification for the ethical treatment of human participants in research in the behavioral and social sciences. We think this is fun! If it sounds like (no pun intended) fun to you, let us know!

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