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At 1:50 PM -0600 12/4/04, Mech wrote:

>I don't think that *technically* this is Psychoacoustics (although 
>since both deal with perception and interpretation, there's 
>obviously going to be a bit of dovetailing). ..Psychoacoustics, as I 
>always understood it, deals mostly with the way the physical wiring 
>of our biological systems affects the way we hear things.  Whereas 
>most of what we're speaking of above mostly deals with conditioned 
>responses and the way our thought processes associate different 
>stimuli with each other.

I think we're in the twin realms of psychoacoustics and music 
cognition, and I'm not in a position (without a little reading and 
reflection) to cite a definitive definition of the precise boundary 
between the two. However, back in graduate school (circa 1978-79) I 
took a couple of classes in psychoacoustics, did a lot of reading of 
the current literature, and even did some listening experiments. One 
thing I learned was that at least in some areas of auditory 
perception there were distinct differences between the responses of 
naive listeners (undergraduate non-majors) and skilled listeners 
(music graduate students).

I imagine different researchers may draw the line between strict 
physiological psychoacoustics and music cognition in different 
places, but I think some of the most interesting areas are where the 
hard-wired and the learned responses interact. Thus auditory learning 
has an effect on what one can hear in a piece of music one repeated 
listenings or even during the course of a single listening. I've 
observed this in my own responses even when the repeated listenings 
are widely separated in time (by years, even).

However, there are certain psychoacoustic responses that are so 
deeply embedded in the neural anatomy as to be permanently entrenched 
(cf. the work of Diana Deutsch).

Richard Zvonar, PhD
(818) 788-2202