Does anyone know of a peer reviewed article that describes how commercials will often contain high audio frequencies in order to attract the viewer's attention?

Referrals to commercials using any audio based method to command attention would also be welcome.

I believe this will come under the field of psychoacoustics.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site. I'm wondering whether your question could be refined to focus more on the scientific question. I can see that you're keen to get scientific references, that's fine. Usually on this site, we try to focus on the scientific question and incorporate a request for a reference as a secondary component: e.g., is the question: How effective are high audio frequencies in advertisements in attracting viewer attention? $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2012 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. You can reword the question if you wish. I welcome any answer that cites solid peer reviewed references. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2012 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Okay. I've tweaked the title to focus on a scientific question; I wasn't entirely sure about which aspect of the topic your question was focused on: i.e. effectiveness of high frequencies? prevalence of use high frequencies as an attention gaining strategy? conditions where it works or doesn't work? etc. $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2012 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ prevalence of use high frequencies as an attention gaining strategy? This is along the right lines of investigation but examples pertaining to commercial broadcasting would be preferred. $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2012 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ As an anecdote, a friend of mine in Film & Video production once used the Emergency Alery System's (turn down your speakers) SAME header in a car commercial. Audiences despised it but the executives of the car company loved it, said it was one of their most successful ad campaigns... $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Nov 9, 2012 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


I am not aware of any use in using "high audio frequencies" in commercials, but there is a history of making commercials louder (presumably to attract attention). There are laws prohibiting increasing the loudness of commercials (e.g., CALM Act). Increasing the loudness, without remotely adjusting the volume on the TV is not a trivial thing and potentially involves careful mixing of the audio signals as well as allowing acceptable levels of distortion.


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