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Peer Review

Auditory Perception



Overall Numeric Rating:

3.5 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 2.5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 11, 2004 by Psychology
Overview: "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.'

Type of Material: The site uses text, graphics, and numerous Java applets to demonstrate elements
of auditory perception.
Recommended Uses: This material is a good reference source for individuals studying sound, pitch,
and tone.
Technical Requirements: Under "Browser Settings" the site requires a 1.1 Java compatible browser, Java
and JavaScript enabled, Windows 95 or NT, and Netscape 4.0 is recommended. Since
those are older versions of browsers, a newer version would be desirable.
Identify Major Learning Goals: 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
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.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: The subject matter is complex and could be explain more thoroughly.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: 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.

Concerns: 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

Rating: 2.5 stars
Strengths: Once accessed, each unit of the site was easy to navigate. Most applets worked

Concerns: 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.