Olsen K N, Stevens C J, 2010, "Perceptual overestimation of rising intensity: Is stimulus continuity necessary?" Perception 39(5) 695 – 704
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Perceptual overestimation of rising intensity: Is stimulus continuity necessary?
Kirk N Olsen, Catherine J Stevens
Received 7 October 2009, in revised form 28 January 2010; published online 17 May 2010
Abstract. A “perceptual bias for rising intensity” (Neuhoff 1998, Nature 395 123 – 124) is not dependent on the continuous change of a dynamic, looming sound source. Thirty participants were presented with pairs of 500 ms steady-state sounds corresponding to onset and offset levels of previously used dynamic increasing- and decreasing-intensity stimuli. Independent variables, intensity-change direction (increasing, decreasing), intensity region (high: 70 – 90 dB SPL, low: 50 – 70 dB SPL), interstimulus interval (ISI) (0 s, 1.8 s, 3.6 s), and timbre (vowel, violin) were manipulated as a fully within-subjects design. The dependent variable was perceived loudness change between each stimulus item in a pair. It was hypothesised that (i) noncontinuous increases of intensity are overestimated in loudness change, relative to decreases, in both low-intensity and high-intensity regions; and (ii) perceptual overestimation does not occur when end-levels are balanced. The hypotheses were partially supported. At the high-intensity region, increasing stimuli were perceived to change more in loudness than decreasing-intensity stimuli. At the low-intensity region and under balanced end-level conditions, decreasing-intensity stimuli were perceived to change more in loudness than increasing-intensity stimuli. A significant directionxregion interaction varied as a function of ISI. Methodological, sensory, and cognitive explanations for overestimation in certain circumstances are discussed.
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