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AUDL 4007 & GS12  – 2015

Auditory perception

UCL Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street
London WC1N 1PF

This unit will provide advanced training in aspects of auditory perception that are particularly relevant to understanding both normal and impaired auditory function. An emphasis will be placed on the fundamental aspects of hearing such as frequency analysis, temporal analysis, pitch perception, intensity perception and binaural processing.
Course Structure: The course is run on Thursday afternoons in the second term only, starting on 15 January 2015. There is no meeting on 22 January, but there will be one on 19 February, even though it is reading week. The course comprises a mixture of lectures, demonstrations, laboratory sessions and tutorials. Unless otherwise noted, lectures will be given by Professor Stuart Rosen.

Venue and scheduling: Sessions start at 14:00 in Chandler House, taking place in Room G15 and then moving to Room B07, the basement teaching laboratory.

Week Date Lecture Topic Laboratory Course Work (CW)
1 15 January

Introduction to the course

The auditory periphery

Mathematical interlude: continuous spectra and adding levels

Review signals & systems Choose a paper
2 22 January No meeting
3 29 January Envelope & Temporal Fine Structure (TFS) A cochlear simulation Paper approved by 28 Jan
4 5 February

Frequency selectivity

Intensity & Loudness

Measuring frequency selectivity using notched noise Hand in CW 1 by noon on 6 February
5 12 February Binaural hearing (Prof D McAlpine) CW 1 returned with comments
6 19 February Temporal resolution Adaptive techniques using gap detection CW 1 handed in re-written
7 26 February Pitch perception (Prof A Faulkner)

Measuring fundamental frequency in various sounds Choose paper 2
8 5 March Psychoacoustics of hearing impairment

Paper 2 approved by now

9 12 March

Cochlear Implants

Listening to speech in noise with cochlear implant simulations

10 19 March Auditory Scene Analysis (Dr M Chait) Bring essay 2 for reading in lab
11 26 March Hearing speech in noise Listening to speech in different kinds of 'noise' CW 2 handed in re-written

Stuart Rosen 020 7679 4077 stuart@phon.ucl.ac.uk course organiser
Dave Cushing 020 7679 7400 d.cushing@ucl.ac.uk laboratory technician

Main text: Plack C. (2014) The Sense of Hearing, 2nd edition. Erlbaum.
The first edition should be adequate if you can't obtain the newer one.

Supplementary Reading

You must pass the final exam to pass the course.

Final exam

The final exam will take place in the main exam period. It will consist of a set of 8 essay type questions, all of which you must answer. This allows 15 mins/question. A greater depth of understanding will be expected for students in AUDL GS12. Generally speaking, there is a straightforward question associated with one or more lecture topics, as for the exams in 2009 and 2008. The exam in 2007 was in a slightly different format. Other exams are available on the library web site. Use the code AUDL4007.

Here are some example questions with tips for model answers.

Course work

Write two articles for a lay audience summarizing the crucial results of a journal article relevant to this course, in a style appropriate for a quality daily newspaper The use of graphics and diagrams is more than welcome, but is not required. Below you will find a few articles that would be appropriate, but please choose your own. You must email the .pdf first so I can assess its suitability. A good source of relevant papers can be found in the following journals, although other,more general journals, can sometimes have appropriate studies too (e.g., Nature and Science). You can gain access to these through the UCL library page

There are also often papers related to auditory perception in more general journals like The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Biology, Nature, etc. The following are examples of articles that would be appropriate, but please do not use these. Get an article from within last 3 years or so. Ensure that the article you select is not a review article in which much of the work is done for you already! It must be a primary research paper, although an appropriate meta-analysis of a some clinical procedure might be OK. Read any article you propose to use beforehand to ensure that it can be explained to a lay audience! Note that you may need to read ahead of the syllabus for some topics. You may not choose a a paper which is relevant for your project, and the two papers must be in distinct areas.

Articles should be 1000 words or less. Your article should introduce the basic topic and discuss the motivation of the author(s) in doing the study, as well report the results and their implications. Ensure you use language any reasonably well-educated person could understand. Do not simply paraphrase (or outright plagiarise!) the author(s). Unlike an article in the popular press, you should have a reference list. An appropriate style can be found in this example, this one or this one, all from Nature News. Again, use the library page to access the ejournal and locate the full article by date.

You will submit your work in hard copy and in an email to me. Please also submit a hard copy of the article your essay was based on. The following deadlines are crucial:

Week by Week

This website will be updated frequently though the term. You can see how the teaching in previous years has run for 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011. Journal articles that are suggested reading are readily accessible through the reading list in Moodle.

Week 1: Introduction to the course, a review of peripheral auditory physiology & technical preludes to frequency selectivity

Suggested readings

Week 2: Envelope and Temporal Fine Structure (TFS)

Suggested readings

Week 3: Frequency selectivity & Intensity and loudness

Read Ch 5 & 6 in Plack.

Week 4: Binaural hearing (Prof D McAlpine)

Read Ch 9 in Plack. Ch 5 in Schnupp et al. could also be useful.

Week 5: Temporal resolution

Read Ch 8 in Plack.

Week 6: Pitch perception (Prof A Faulkner)

Read Ch 7 in Plack and Ch 3 in Schnupp et al.

Week 7: Psychoacoustics of hearing impairment

For more on the psychoacoustics of hearing impairment (available through the reading List on Moodle), read:
This is a really excellent summary about auditory compression and hearing loss and this short article describes dead regions in a very informative way.

Week 8: Cochlear implants

Suggested readings

Week 9: Auditory Scene Analysis (Dr M Chait)

Suggested readings

Week 10: Hearing speech in noise

Read this excellent paper (available through the reading List on Moodle) about energetic and informational masking:
Shinn-Cunningham, B. G. (2008). "Object-based auditory and visual attention," Trends Cog. Sci. p 12, 182-186.

Term ends 27 March 2015

Other links to material concerning relevant topics

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