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26

Since I was asked in chat about binaural beats, and have been posed this question a number of times before besides, I looked into the most recent literature using Google Scholar for the single term "binaural beats" and restricted my search to papers published between 2010-2015. For convenience, this is the definition of a binaural beat I will use. When ...


17

A general model of processing stimuli suggests that when information does not provide informational value, then we gradually begin to ignore it. Such a model is consistent with the experience of many people in relation to background traffic noise when moving from a quiet to a noisy neighbourhood. I.e., the frequency with which external traffic noise enters ...


13

The frequency is individual, and known as tinnitus frequency or pitch. From Okamoto et al., 2010: Our target notched music introduced a functional deafferentation of auditory neurons corresponding to the eliminated frequency band, and because this frequency band overlapped the individual tinnitus frequency, the notched music no longer ...


11

There is very little controlled, modern research on binaural beats. I could only find one source, referenced below, from the late nineties (although there are a few other, more recent non-experimental "pilot studies"). According to their study, "presentation of beta-frequency binaural beats yielded more correct target detections and fewer false alarms than ...


11

Short answer Yes, there is a difference between hearing and understanding sound. Background Acoustic information is processed in different neural centers along the auditory pathway. The auditory system runs from the peripheral end organ in the inner ear (the cochlea) to the cortex. Along the way various processing steps are carried out. For ...


9

First I have to say that the wavelengths of light are on a totally different order of magnitude than sound. So the parallel drawn in your question "do light waves, for example one with the same wave length as a mid-C and another with a mid-F wave, look nicely together?" may seem logical, but is on closer inspection not easily maintained. Instead, one way to ...


8

Short Answer: People tap their feet due to increased activity in the cerebellum. Detailed Answer: There already is some evidence that music can release certain neurotransmitters, including dopamine. You can assume that people who tap their feet to the music, are in someway "pleased" by the music, meaning that their body goes into some sort of ...


7

Short answer Hair cells in the cochlea can code sound intensity via the amount of neurotransmitter they release. Higher sound levels result in more neurotransmitter release and in turn to higher firing rates in the spiral ganglion cells of the auditory nerve. Background Sound waves are picked up by the mechanoreceptors in the inner ear: the hair cells. ...


7

Jens' answer is pretty much spot on, but misses the fact, remembered from my undergraduate lectures, that your ears actually partially 'turn off' when you speak (or chew), in what's called the stapedius reflex (wikipedia). The most common reference I've seen for this is Møller (2000), which unfortunately is a book, but I'm sure more information could be ...


7

Let's start with the terminologies in your question: Loudness: The level (amplitude) of the sound. The higher the sound level, the louder it is perceived. Loudness is measured on a dB scale, e.g. dBA (corrected for the human sensitivity across frequencies), dB HL (used in the clinic relative to normal-hearing level) or dB SPL (a more physical approach to ...


7

As far as I know, auditory clicks are the shortest possible auditory stimuli. The shortest auditory click I was able to find in the literature, and which was used in a psychophysical context (i.e., audible to a human) was 10 microseconds (Leshowitz, 1971). The longest sound we can hear is pretty much defined as a human's maximum age I guess. While the ...


7

Short answer The auditory system remains active during sleep. Background Filtering of sensory input during sleep is a recognized phenomenon and indeed the senses are typically lulled during sleep. This phenomenon is, at least partly, caused by thalamic gating. Thalamic gating is caused by the thalamus entering a state in which slow-wave activity disrupts ...


6

I think this is not a psychological syndrome but just a reflection of the physical procesces. As such it might not be on-topic for this site. Having this said, here is a quick answer. When you hear your own while speaking, the sound source is in a different place than it is, when you hear a recording of your voice through a loudspeaker. In addition, when ...


6

It greatly depends on what you mean as 'noticeable' - what/why do you want to synchronise, and how it reaches the ears from physical speakers. Keep in mind that a sound source being 30cm/1 feet further from the ear is about the same effect as a millisecond of delay (speed of sound ~340m/s) - thus, synchronising on the order of microseconds is generally ...


6

It is well documented that people are able to selectively attend to different speakers. The ability to tune-in to a particular speaker and filter out others was dubbed the cocktail party effect, since it is the kind of skill that is required in when trying to have a conversation with another person in a crowded party. A common way of studying this ...


6

Short answer People with above-normal hearing exist. Background Normal hearing was defined as the average of a group of young healthy individuals. These normal hearing levels are currently used to express acoustic sensitivities. One commonly used way is to use decibels relative to this normal hearing level (dB NH). This scale is used in audiograms (Schnupp ...


6

In terms of the shortest stimuli, the auditory system can process acoustic impulses, but defining the duration of an impulse is problematic. As the duration of the impulse gets shorter, the bandwidth gets broader. A 25 us impulse has frequencies between 0 and 20 kHz, as you decrease the duration of the impulse you add higher frequency components such that a ...


5

From "Binaural Auditory Beats Affect Vigilance Performance and Mood": Participants (n = 29) performed a 30-min visual vigilance task on three different days while listening to pink noise containing simple tones or binaural beats either in the beta range (16 and 24 Hz) or the theta/delta range (1.5 and 4 Hz). However, participants were kept blind to the ...


5

It really depends on what you mean by difference in pitch. Subjects can discriminate differences in frequency for very short tones, but it does not mean they are being perceived as pitch differences. The classic paper in this area is Moore (1973): As the duration is reduced from 200 ms to 6.25 ms, performance falls off, especially for low frequency tones. ...


5

The short answer is that it is pleasurable. Recent research from Witek et al (2014) sheds light on this. Their research on affective response and desire to move when listening to funk drum breaks showed that "syncopation seems to be an important structural factor in embodied and affective responses to groove". Here is their full PLOS article: http://...


5

Short answer The inner voice of congenitally (pre-lingually) deaf people who have not received treatment like cochlear implantation, is not sound-based. Instead, it is mainly based on visual images, such as sign-language or printed material. Background According to an anecdotal report published in the Independent of a congenitally deaf person, who ...


4

The answer ought to be a qualified "Yes." We don't only hear what we want, in as much as motivation has zero direct control over the transduction of auditory signals in a sensory sense. Motivation affects which way we turn our ears and whether we keep them in a room with sounds we want to hear vs. a room with sounds we don't want to hear, but if those sounds ...


4

Short answer In practice, absolute pitch is generally tested for by using musical pitch classes. Background Absolute pitch (AP) is the ability to identify the pitch of a musical tone, or to produce a musical tone at a given pitch without the use of an external reference pitch. Most humans process musical pitch relatively rather than absolutely, and in fact ...


3

Short answer In the case of simple stimuli, visual and auditory stimuli can be offset between 25 and 50 ms and still be perceived as coming from one and the same same event. Background The question can be re-phrased as what is the window of integration of intersensory asynchrony in case of visual and auditory stimuli? A well-known example where these two ...


3

Comparing the two gets into metaphysics. There have been theories of a 'light octave', since IR to UV is not terribly far from a single octave. Basically, in the standard sense, no, our vision does not perceive harmony in just the same way as our audition does with much lower-frequency sound waves. Newton directly compared the two when he associated the ...


3

Auditory information is conveyed to the brain from the cochlea via the VIII cranial nerve (aka vestibulocochlear nerve). Under standard conditions the vestibular system gets activated when we move our heads. If we spin around rapidly this can obviously make us feel dizzy and nauseous. The vestibular system can also be activated do to other causes. For ...


3

There have been studies on this, both with paired clicks and long streams of clicks. Normal listeners can detect changes of the sort you describe with essentially perfect reliability down to about 45 ms and with better chance performance below 30 ms. I haven't been able to find a study measuring the minimal threshold for this change, but from the studies I ...


3

Short answer No, infrasonic or ultrasonic sound cannot generate binaural beats. Background Binaural beats are generated in the brain and are associated with the frequency bands of the EEG. Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) and theta (4 to 8 Hz) ranges have reportedly been associated with reports of relaxed, meditative, and creative states, and used ...


3

Phonemes are the smallest units of speech sound, usually about 20 to 60 in number, and different for each language (1). They are what letter are to words, actually alphabetic writing systems are derived from phonemes (2). A group of phonemes together form a chunk, that represent a word. These chunks are arbitrary and are created by culture, and are learned ...


3

Short answer Meditation may be key to block out distracting noise. Background One study has shown that during meditation, expert meditators with over 19,000 h of meditation experience show less brain activations in regions associated with discursive thoughts and emotions (prefrontal regions, basal ganglia, and subthalamic nuclei), and more activation in ...


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