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Coward, S. W., & Stevens, C. J. (2004). Extracting meaning from sound: Nomic mappings, everyday listening, and perceiving object size from frequency. The Psychological Record, 54(3), 349–364. 
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard (2/24/06, 12:40 PM)   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Coward2004
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Categories: Sound Design
Keywords: Earcons & Auditory Icons, Perception, Sound objects
Creators: Coward, Stevens
Collection: The Psychological Record
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"In developing a theoretical framework for the field of ecological acoustics, Gaver[cite]185[/cite] distinguished between the experience of musical listening (perceiving sounds) and everyday listening (perceiving sources of sounds). Within the everyday listening experience, Gaver[cite]186[/cite] proposed that the frequency of an object results from, and therefore specifies, the size of the object. The relation in which frequency and object size stand to one another is an example of a nomic mapping. A symbolic mapping involves the pairing of unrelated dimensions and, relative to a nomic mapping, requires an additional step in recognition and learning. Using a perceptual identification task, an experiment investigated the hypothesis that nomic mappings are identified more easily than symbolic mappings. It was predicted that the advantage manifests only during the everyday listening experience, and that the initially superior recognition of nomic mappings is equaled by symbolic mappings after extended exposure. The results provided support for the hypotheses. Theroretical implications of the differential recognition of nomic mappings are discussed, together with practical applications of nomic relations."

Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard  Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard

Picks up on a hypothesis put forward by Gaver (Gaver 1993b; 1993a) that, for sound, nomic mappings provide more readily usable information about the sound producing object that symbolic mappings by designing an experiment to test for the relationship between object size and [fundamental] frequency. The results bear out the hypothesis.

Gaver, W. W. (1993a). How do we hear in the world? Explorations in ecological acoustics. Ecological Psychology, 5(4), 285–313.
Gaver, W. W. (1993b). What in the world do we hear? An ecological approach to auditory perception. Ecological Psychology, 5(1), 1–29.
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard  Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.360   Discussing the results of the experiment: "nomic mappings were recognized more readily than symbolic mappings, but the advantage was restricted to the initial phase of the everyday listening group ... the difference in recognition of nomic and symbolic mappings was evident only during the first block of the everyday listening condition. This finding endorses the notion that mapping structures are more readily available in the nomic condition."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.361   Hint that the results of their experiment may "form the basis for intuitive mappings to artificial events ... The major benefit of using auditory icons may be to reacquaint humans with a phylogenetically familiar environment."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
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