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Folmann, T. B. Auditory perception in games. Retrieved August 8, 2005, from http://www.gamesconfere ... viewabstract.php?id=361 
Added by: sirfragalot (08/09/2005 11:33:16 AM)   
Resource type: Web Article
BibTeX citation key: Folmanna
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Categories: General
Keywords: perception
Creators: Folmann
Views: 3/547
"The paper suggests the formation of an auditory perception model, which describes how audio is perceived in games. The model divides audio perception into a spectrum of emotional, physical and socio-cultural dimensions. Since there are no scientific studies in “Auditory Perception in Games” the paper investigate other scientific theories, which covers individual aspects of auditory perception ranging from cognition and music cognition, psychology and psychoacoustics, neurology, sociology, ethnomusicology, linguistics and several others.

The paper suggests the construction of a triangular auditory perception model, which can describe how Game Audio can be perceived. This construction takes all the applied theories and divides them into three main levels of audio perception. These count the emotional, physical and socio-cultural levels of auditory perception in games. The emotional perception of game audio covers how we perceive sound on a psychological and affective level. The physical perception of game audio seeks to understand how our body physiology is affected by sound. The socio-cultural level of perception of game audio implicates the social and anthropological aspects of sound.

Emotional Perception of Audio

We are constantly being emotionally influenced by audio stimulus in games. This can be anything from menu screen music, bad voice acting, the sound of footsteps, light sabers or the roaring sound of a car. We cannot close our ears and though audio is perceived very subjectively, we are all emotionally influenced by it. When people are asked to verbalize their experience of sounds (non-musical and non-verbal) they often tend to use basic emotional description such as sad, happy, annoying, pleasant and so on [Namba, 1991]. One of the reasons for this emotional association could be that we don’t have a linguistic tradition of verbalizing and describing our perceptions of sounds. But when we try to translate and verbalize our perceptions of sound, we often tend to use emotional terminologies such as sad, happy, angry, alarming, frustrating, friendly etc. This indicates that much of our auditory perception is related to some levels of emotions. As we are also experiencing sad, happy, angry, alarming, frustrating and friendly experiences in games – it is likely that there are similarities in general auditory perception and auditory perception in games.

Numerous studies has been conducted in how sounds and ambiences influence us emotionally ranging from studies in speech [Liscombe 2003], [Burkhardt 2000], emotional perception of music [Deutsch, 1999], [Juslin & Sloboda, 2001] and general sounds [Namba 1991], [Västfjäll 2002]. None of these studies has been conducted in relation to games, however they indicate that emotional perception of audio is not related to a specific type of media.

Physical Perception of audio

The physical perception theories are mainly concerned with the bodily property of audio itself. A sound, regardless of its source, holds different physical properties that influence the human body, pulse rate, brainwave frequencies. When we experience sounds in games – as well as other media – the experience is likely to have similar traits. Regardless of emotional association or socio-cultural influences the basis of sounds is physically perceived the same way, since the ear function is arguably an automated body function. No matter what sounds we hear they influence our brain and studies in neurology can monitor the alteration within the brain, when it is influenced by sound. [Lane & Kasian 1998].

But there are also other ways of influencing the human body without necessarily involving a direct emotional perception of audio. One of more common observations in psychology and music psychology [Deutsch, 1999] is the physical effect of classical music. Studies have indicated that blood pressure, body temperature and pulse rate can be influenced with the use of classical music [Savan, 1999]. It is suggested that classical music may stimulate production of endorphins, which affect body functions.

The use of faster rhythms stimulates shopping behavior and flow pace in super markets [Milliman, 1982]. The increasing the pace in music can also influence other behaviors. People are more likely to drink more and quicker, when nearby music plays faster. This has some interesting applications for public consuming spaces [McElrea & Standing, 1992]. Public spaces like cantinas are an example of this. Users of a canteen were subjected to different music styles over several days, and their consume behavior changed according to musical genre. Genres like classical music created an exclusive atmosphere where test subjects were willing to pay more [North & Hargreaves, 1998]. One could easily imagine some of these factors implemented in games. An example would be implementation of various types of music in multiplayer games in order to emphasize certain player behaviours.

Socio-Cultural Perception of Audio

Audio perception is also formed by embedded and surrounding culture and social environments. Whereas emotional and physical theories are mainly concerned with individual perception, the socio-cultural theories seek to understand how individual perception of audio is formed by the surrounding world and cultural heritage.

Each culture has its own set of complex languages, dialects, accents, music styles and instruments – and within each culture are even more complex sets of subcultures, which adapt their own way of perceiving audio. One of the major topics in “socio-cultural audio” is music and music preferences. Different subcultures have different taste in regards of music and this personal belief is also reflected in behavior. There is a tendency that people who listens to Heavy Metal are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, show interest in occultism and praise anti-social values and attitudes, then non-fans of this particular music style. Another example of preference and behavior can be found in Punk music. Punk fans have higher tendency to show negative relations towards authority and positive attitude towards certain elements of crime. Punk fans are more likely to commit crime against authorities [Hansen & Hansen, 1991]. Other studies show similar tendencies in Rap Music. Regular listeners of Rap Music are more likely to suggest violence as a solution tool, tendencies of chauvinistic behavior and praising of materialistic values [Johnson & Jackson, 1995]. Studies like these could have be used in games as they describe how social groups use music in order to create identity, which is obvious in the case of multiplayer games.

The paper suggests the formation of a causality model, which describes that Auditory Perception in Games, happens in a cross-spectrum between emotional, physical and socio-cultural levels of perception. Theories from a variety of established scientific fields describes how humans perceive audio and it is highly likely that elements of these studies could be implemented in games."
Added by: sirfragalot  
NB - abstract only for DiGRA 'Changing Views -- Worlds in Play' conference (Toronto, 16-20 June 2005). No full text available.

Much of this abstract concerns itself solely with music as opposed to the more inclusive game audio.
Added by: sirfragalot  Last edited by: sirfragalot
   Suggests a three-point model of auditory perception in games based upon:

  • Emotional auditory perception in games
  • Physical auditory perception in games
  • Socio-cultural auditory perception in games
  Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   perception
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