A theory of loudness and loudness judgments

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Abstract

To account both for properties of auditory functioning and for the perceptual bases of various kinds of psychophysical judgments of loudness, the present theory holds that the auditory system processes information about the intensity of sounds in a hierarchy of stages. Each stage is characterized by a function that transforms input components into output components. Associated with each stage in processing is a rule for combining the output components of that stage. In the initial, peripheral (sensory) stages, these rules are ones of summation, accounting thereby for energy summation within critical bands, loudness summation across widely separated frequencies, and binaural loudness summation. Underlying loudness summation is a scale approximating the sone scale. In a more central (cognitive) stage, the rule is one of subtraction between components, accounting thereby for the perceptual relationship that forms the basis for judgments of loudness differences. Underlying loudness difference is a scale approximating the lambda scale. Thus, the theory uses a single hierarchical scheme to account both for certain auditory processes and for seemingly incompatible psychological scales of loudness. (56 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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