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Auditory warnings for steering environments

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Glatz,  C
Project group: Motion Perception & Simulation, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Project group: Cognition & Control in Human-Machine Systems, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Glatz, C. (2017). Auditory warnings for steering environments. In S. Brandenburg, L. Chuang, & M. Baumann (Eds.), 3rd Berlin Summer School Human Factors (pp. 19-20). Berlin, Germany: Technische Universität Berlin: Zentrum für Mensch-Maschine-Systeme.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-C39B-5
Abstract
Sounds are often used effectively to capture and direct attention to reduce visual load. When parking, cars can, for example, signal the decreasing distance to an object by decreasing the interval between beeps. The design of auditory warnings can consider various types of sounds. Auditory icons are representative, natural sounds from our environment that do not have to be learned. Abstract auditory warnings are known as earcons. These synthetic sounds cannot easily be confused with environmental sounds but their association has to be learned. Depending on which type of sound is chosen, different parameters (e.g. intensity, sound dynamics, interval, stimulus-onset-asynchrony) can be modified. In this project, I investigate the ability to cue and sustain attention in steering environments using auditory looming warnings. Looming sounds are earcon-icon hybrid sounds because they are artificial sounds that incorporate a natural sounds’ characteristic. That is, looming sounds rise in intensity and thereby signal an approaching sound emitting object. Although previous research has shown that looming stimuli evoke an avoidance response in humans, we still do not know how well these salient sounds work in directing attention to peripheral events while steering. My research, therefore, investigates the effectiveness of cuing peripheral visual targets by a looming sound, a constant intensity sound, or a sound decreasing in intensity. I found that all three sounds were able to cue attention equally well. However, only the looming sound was able to sustain attention longer at the cued location. Further experiments showed that this was not due to the high end-intensity of the looming sound but indeed due to the rising intensity profile that conveys the time to contact.