"Auditory Perception" is one of four major sections (Visual Perception, Memory & Learning, Cognition, and Auditory Perception) that comprise "Internet Psychology Laboratory," a large website designed as an interactive system for laboratory instruction in psychology. The author summarizes what the site intends to do by writing 'In this section, we investigate some basic principles of auditory perception. First we examine the notion of pitch: how do we measure "high" and "low"; what is the nature of the correlation between physically measurable aspects of a tone's frequency and its perceived "height" Next, we move on to a discussion of tones in an effort to differentiate the "height" of a tone from its "chroma." Finally, we discuss tonal paradoxes in which the standard separation of "height" and "chroma" is called into question.'
The stated "long term goal of the IPL project is to provide a dynamic, up-to-date medium and database that will become a regular part of the instructional resources at the University of Illinois." As part of that project this site introduces the viewer to the concepts of sound and music and investigates some basic principles of auditory perception. It goes on to examine the notion of pitch which is followed by a discussion of tone and tonal paradoxes.
Target Student Population:
Upper division college students in a course that explores perception in some detail.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Viewers would benefit from some prior coursework in psychology, as well as some knowledge of music fundamentals. At the minimum, a basic understanding of the auditory system and how sound is perceived is necessary to comprehend the information provided.
Type of Material:
The site uses text, graphics, and numerous Java applets to demonstrate elements of auditory perception.
This material is a good reference source for individuals studying sound, pitch, and tone.
Evaluation and Observation
The site covers the subject matter in great depth and contains numerous graphs, demonstrations, and experiments. Explanations are provided for each demonstration and the user is referred to other demonstrations as needed.
The subject matter is complex and could be explain more thoroughly.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Each unit of instruction on the site is thorough in it's treatment of the related topics. For individuals with an appropriate background the site provides a wealth of information pertaining to auditory perception. In addition, numerous links to other psychology sites of interest are easily accessed from the IPL home page. The site demonstrates some complicated elements of auditory perception. In classes where this level of understanding is expected, this site would be invaluable.
Browser issues were noted that would lead to an inability to access some information, thus decreasing the site's effectiveness as a teaching tool. And, as previously noted, explanations could be more thorough.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Once accessed, each unit of the site was easy to navigate. Most applets worked well.
It would be helpful if there was a clearly outlined logical progression from one unit to the next within the website. For example, the six buttons which access each individual unit on the main page are arranged in two vertical columns of three. The button for the Introduction to Audio unit, which apparently should be covered first by the viewer, is located at the top of the righthand column of buttons. Most users would instinctively select the upper lefthand button to begin the exercise. That button begins the unit on pitch perception which logically should follow the introduction to audio/sound unit. Problems with applets that would not close where noted.
Other Issues and Comments:
It appears that the site or parts of it may not have been updated in quite some time, since only older versions of Netscape, Windows, and Java are mentioned in the site's browser settings. As a result some newer browsers might not function properly. As the site is so specific, its use may be limited.