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Perceived Intentionality of Amplitude Envelopes

Perceived Intentionality of Amplitude Envelopes

Name:Peter Benson

School/Affiliation:Northeastern University

Co-Authors:Nicholas Kathios, Psyche Loui

Virtual or In-person:In-person


Musical reward is tied to predictable structural acoustic, melodic, and rhythmic features. However, recent work has shown that listeners have preferences for isolated, non-referential sounds that do not rely on these higher-level musical features. This suggests that lower-level acoustic features, such as amplitude envelope, may elicit musical preferences. Here we investigated one possibility of why certain amplitude envelopes might be preferred over others: the perception of sound source. Participants were presented with isolated sounds with various amplitude modulations of short and long durations (Experiments 1 and 2 respectively), and rated each sound on perceived intentionality. Both experiments found that amplitude modulation was significantly related to perceived intentionality. In Experiment 1 (n=41), we found that attack time was negatively correlated with perceived intentionality. Further analysis showed that individual differences in musical reward (as assessed using the Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire) significantly predicted ratings of intentionality as it varied with attack time. In Experiment 2 (n=87), we found that both depth and frequency of amplitude modulations were positively related to perceived intentionality. These findings show that low-level acoustic features can engage music reward, potentially relating these acoustic features to predictive processes.

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