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Human Auditory Biases Match Natural Regularities Found With Animal Calls

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Human perceptual dimensions of sound are not necessarily simple representations of the actual physical dimensions that make up sensory input. In particular, research on the perception of interactions between acoustic frequency and intensity has shown that people exhibit a bias

Human perceptual dimensions of sound are not necessarily simple representations of the actual physical dimensions that make up sensory input. In particular, research on the perception of interactions between acoustic frequency and intensity has shown that people exhibit a bias to expect the perception of pitch and loudness to change together. Researchers have proposed that this perceptual bias occurs because sound sources tend to follow a natural regularity of a correlation between changes in intensity and frequency of sound. They postulate that the auditory system has adapted to expect this naturally occurring relationship to facilitate auditory scene analysis, the tracking and parsing sources of sound as listeners analyze their auditory environments. However, this correlation has only been tested with human speech and musical sounds. The current study explores if animal sounds also exhibit the same natural correlation between intensity and frequency and tests if people exhibit a perceptual bias to assume this correlation when listening to animal calls. Our principal hypotheses are that animal sounds will tend to exhibit a positive correlation between intensity and frequency and that, when hearing such sounds change in intensity, listeners will perceive them to also change in frequency and vice versa. Our tests with 21 animal calls and 8 control stimuli along with our experiment with participants responding to these stimuli supported these hypotheses. This research provides a further example of coupling of perceptual biases with natural regularities in the auditory domain, and provides a framework for understanding perceptual biases as functional adaptations that help perceivers more accurately anticipate and utilize reliable natural patterns to enhance scene analyses in real world environments.

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2014-05

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Feelin' Good...And Then Some: A Functional Evolutionary Approach to Positive Emotions in Sport

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Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct

Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct positive emotions with diverse implications for behavior. The present study applied this evolutionarily informed approach in the context of sport to examine which positive emotions are associated with play. It was hypothesized that pride, amusement, and enthusiasm, but not contentment or awe, would increase in Ultimate Frisbee players during a practice scrimmage. Further, it was hypothesized that increases in pride and amusement during practice would be differentially associated with sport outcomes, including performance (scores, assists, and defenses), subjective social connectedness, attributions of success, and attitudes toward the importance of practice. It was found that all positive emotions decreased during practice. It was also found that increases in pride were associated with more scores and greater social connectedness, whereas increases in amusement were associated with more assists. The present study was one of the first to examine change in positive emotions during play and to relate them to specific performance outcomes. Future studies should expand to determine which came first: emotion or performance.

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2014-05

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Effects of Loudness Change on Tempo Perception and Action in Percussion

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Tempo control is a crucial part of musicianship that can provide an obstacle for novice musicians. The current study examines why novice percussionists increase their playing tempo when they increase their loudness (in music, loudness is referred to as dynamics).

Tempo control is a crucial part of musicianship that can provide an obstacle for novice musicians. The current study examines why novice percussionists increase their playing tempo when they increase their loudness (in music, loudness is referred to as dynamics). This study tested five hypotheses: 1) As actual tempo changes, listeners perceive that the tempo is changing; 2) There is a perceptual bias to perceive increases in acoustic intensity as also increasing in tempo; 3) All individuals, regardless of percussion experience, display the bias described in hypothesis 2; 4) Unskilled or non-percussionists increase or decrease produced tempo as they respectively increase or decrease loudness; and 5) Skilled percussionist produce less change in tempo due to changes in loudness than non-percussionists. In Experiment 1, percussionists and non-percussionists listened to metronome samples that gradually change in intensity and/or tempo. Participants identified the direction and size of their perceived tempo change using a computer mouse. In Experiment 2, both groups of participants produced various tempo and dynamic changes on a drum pad. Our findings support that both percussionists and non-percussionists, to some extent, display a perceptual bias to perceive tempo changes as a function of intensity changes. We also found that non-percussionists altered their tempo as a function of changing dynamic levels, whereas percussionists did not. Overall, our findings support that listeners tend to experience some integrality between perceptual dimensions of perceived tempo and loudness. Dimensional integration also persists when playing percussion instruments though experience with percussion instruments reduces this effect.

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2014-05

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Sum sed cogitone? Can children introspect their mental states?

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Introspective awareness refers to direct access to one’s own internal and subjective thoughts and feelings (Wimmer & Hartl, 1991). Two theories, simulation theory and theory-theory, have been used to understand our access to our mental states. Simulation theory (Harris, 1991)

Introspective awareness refers to direct access to one’s own internal and subjective thoughts and feelings (Wimmer & Hartl, 1991). Two theories, simulation theory and theory-theory, have been used to understand our access to our mental states. Simulation theory (Harris, 1991) involves imagining yourself in another person’s situation, reading off of your mental state, and attributing that state to the other person. Theory-theory (Gopnik, 1993) involves an interrelated body of knowledge, based on core mental-state constructs, including beliefs and desires, that may be applied to everyone—self and others (Gopnik & Wellman, 1994). Introspection is taken for granted by simulation theory, and explicitly denied by theory-theory. This study is designed to test for evidence of introspection in young children using simple perception and knowledge task. The current evidence is against introspective awareness in children because the data suggest that children cannot report their own false beliefs and they cannot report their on-going thoughts (Flavell, Green & Flavell, 1993; Gopnik & Astington, 1988). The hypothesis in this study states that children will perform better on Self tasks compared to Other tasks, which will be evidence for introspection. The Other-Perception tasks require children to calculate the other’s line of sight and determine if there is something obscuring his or her vision. The Other-Knowledge tasks require children to reason that the other’s previous looking inside a box means that he or she will know what is inside the box when it is closed. The corresponding Self tasks could be answered either by using the same reasoning for the self or by introspection to determine what it is they see and do not see, and know and do not know. Children performing better on Self tasks compared to Other tasks will be an indication of introspection. Tests included Yes/No and Forced Choice questions, which was initially to ensure that the results will not be caused by a feature of a single method of questioning. I realized belatedly, however, that Forced Choice was not a valid measure of introspection as children could introspect in both the Self and Other conditions. I also expect to replicate previous findings that reasoning about Perception is easier for children than reasoning about Knowledge.

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2013-12