Learnabiltiy of Sound Cues for Environmental Features: Auditory Icons, Earcons, Spearcons, and Speech
Walker, Bruce N.
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Awareness of features in our environment is essential for many daily activities. While often awareness of such features comes from vision, this modality is sometimes unavailable or undesirable. In these instances, auditory cues can be an excellent method of representing environmental features. The study reported here investigated the learnability of well known (auditory icons, earcons, and speech) and more novel (spearcons, earcon-icon hybrids, and sized hybrids) sonification techniques for representing common environmental features. Spearcons, which are speech stimuli that have been greatly sped up, were found to be as learnable as speech, while earcons unsurprisingly were much more difficult to learn. Practical implications are discussed.