Sonification and the interaction of perceptual dimensions: Can the data get lost in the map?
Neuhoff, John G
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Many sonification techniques use acoustic attributes such as frequency, intensity, and timbre to represent different characteristics of multidimensional data. Here we demonstrate a perceptual interaction between changes in pitch and loudness, as well as perceived asymmetries in directional change. Three experiments show that changes in loudness can influence judgments of pitch change, changes in pitch can influence loudness change, and that increases in loudness are judged to change more than equivalent decreases. Within a sonification of stock market data, these characteristics created perceptual distortions in the data set. The results imply that in situations where precision is critical, caution should be exercised when using lower level acoustic dimensions such as frequency and intensity to represent multidimensional data.