Hearing Seminars

CCRMA hosts a weekly Hearing seminar. All areas related to perception are discussed, but the group emphasizes topics that will help us understand how the auditory system works. Speakers are drawn from the group and visitors to the Stanford area. Most attendees are graduate students, faculty, or local researchers interested in psychology, music, engineering, neurophysiology, and linguistics. Meetings are usually from 11AM to 12:30 (or so, depending on questions) on Friday mornings in the CCRMA Seminar Room.

The current schedule is announced via a mailing list. To be added to the mailing list, send email to hearing-seminar-request@ccrma.stanford.edu.  If you have any questions, please contact Malcolm Slaney at hearing-seminar-admin@ccrma.stanford.edu.

Recent Hearing Seminars

  • Everything you wanted to know about pitch perception....

    Date: 
    Fri, 04/11/2014 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    CCRMA Seminar room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    I want to review several theories of pitch perception this week at the CCRMA Hearing Seminar. There are models based on spectral profiles (obviously wrong :-), temporal models (too good), and engineering approaches (not perceptual). And even newer work on using learning. How can these approaches be combined to find something that always works? Something that explains human perception?

    Who: Malcolm Slaney (CCRMA)
    What: Everything you wanted to know about pitch perception
    When: Friday April 11 at 11AM
    Where: CCRMA Seminar Room (Top floor of the Knoll at Stanford)
    Why: What is more fundamental than pitch?

    Bring your ideas, and we’ll see if there is a middle ground.

    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Malcolm Slaney on Pitch Change Recognition

    Date: 
    Fri, 01/24/2014 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    CCRMA Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    There are a couple of recent studies that endeavor to understand how to measure pitch changes, *without* measuring pitch! I would like to summarize these ideas and discuss their implications for perception.

    Pitch changes are important for prosody and some languages. Singers care about pitch, but most people speak and perceive speech without conscious understanding of the pitch. Yet this signal is important. For most languages it tells us a lot about the non-semantic information about the speech signal. And tone languages use pitch to indicate different words. It seems important to measure pitch.

    The two studies I have been involved in have taken two different approaches to avoiding the pitch signal.

    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Prof. Charles Steele on "The novel mechanical structure for function of the inner ear"

    Date: 
    Fri, 01/17/2014 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    CCRMA Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    Few aspects of the hearing process are free from controversy and/or contradiction. However, there is a consensus on several basic features. Nerves are restricted in transferring frequency information to the brain. Consequently, mechanical devices are used in the inner ear for useful neural excitation. The semicircular canals provide very low frequency information associated with body motion, while the mammalian cochlea provides high frequency hearing. The cochlea acts as a real-time Fourier analyzer with a mapping of each frequency of the sound to a place along the cochlea.
    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Mark Sandler on Semantic audio: Combining semantic web technology with audio analysis

    Date: 
    Fri, 01/10/2014 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    CCRMA Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    Mark Sandler will present some of the latest research from the Centre for Digital Music in Semantic Audio, wherever appropriate by means of demos. These will include the use of semantic linked data to create exciting music browsing applications, the use of content analysis in recording studios to improve the quality of audio features and music informatics applications, and music recommendation based on mood.
    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • KC Lee on Understanding User's Auditory Intent

    Date: 
    Fri, 12/06/2013 - 1:30pm - 3:00pm
    Location: 
    Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    Title: Towards incorporating user’s intent in hearing aid design – a combined neuroscience and engineering approach

    Abstract Current hearing aids users find minimal benefit in their device when they are conversing in a crowded environment because all sounds are amplified irrespective of the user’s focus of attention. We are currently working toward the creation of a next-generation hearing aid that will selectively amplify a signal of interest based on the user’s intent. This requires a fundamental paradigm shift in instrumentation design, moving away from feed-forward amplification to systems that incorporate brain signals as feedback mechanisms. To accomplish this, we need to first understand the cortical network recruited for auditory attention.

    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Jieun Oh on Understanding the Affect of Laughter

    Date: 
    Fri, 11/22/2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    CCRMA Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    Laughter is a universal human response to emotional stimuli. Though the production mechanism of laughter may seem crude when compared to other modes of vocalization such as speech and singing, the resulting auditory signal is nonetheless expressive. By implementing prototypes for interactive laughter synthesis and conducting crowdsourced experiments using the synthesized laughter stimuli, this project investigates how acoustic features may give rise to emotional meaning. By focusing on the affective dimensions of laughter, this work complements prior works on laughter synthesis that have primarily emphasized the acceptability criteria.
    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Lloyd Watts on Commercializing Auditory Neuroscience

    Date: 
    Fri, 11/15/2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    Audience is one of the biggest commercial successes from the auditory work that we all love (and talk about at the Hearing Seminar). Lloyd has been a regular attendee at the Hearing Seminar, and he parlayed his auditory expertise into a newly public company that sells audio-processing chips for PCs and cellphones.

    Lloyd has a wealth of knowledge and models of the auditory processing system. Real-time visualizations and all. And some of it might actually be part of your smartphone. Come to CCRMA to find out more.

    Lloyd Watts founded Audience in 2000 as a spin-off from Interval Research, with the mission to commercialize Auditory Neuroscience, producing chip products for PCs and cellphones.

    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Jacek Dmochowski on Measuring Audience Engagement with Neural Signals

    Date: 
    Fri, 10/25/2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    Title: "Measuring Audience Engagement with Neural Signals"

    Abstract: In this talk, I will present the results of a series of experiments which measure the brain's response to natural stimuli (i.e., film clips) with electroencephalography (EEG). I present evidence suggesting that the amount of across-subject correlation in the neural responses of the audience corresponds to the level of engagement exerted by the stimulus. I propose some neural mechanisms which explain this result, and discuss the role of attention and emotion in bringing about neural synchrony. I also draw on results from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to demonstrate that higher-order visual and auditory processing regions of the brain comprise the first two "dimensions" of viewer engagement.

    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Jens Ahrens on The Psychoacoustics of Synthetic Sound Fields

    Date: 
    Fri, 10/18/2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    CCRMA Seminar room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    The Psychoacoustics of Synthetic Sound Fields Abstract: Sound fields that are evoked by electro-acoustic systems can differ substantially from sound fields that arise in nature. This is mainly due to the circumstance that with electro-acoustic systems usually two or more transducers radiate coherent signals simultaneously and therefore create sound fields with complicated physical structures. In this talk, we will summarize the current state of research of the psychoacoustic mechanisms that govern the perception of such synthetic sound fields. We will cover traditional Stereophony as well as methods like Wave Field Synthesis that employ large-scale loudspeaker arrays, and a lot in between.
    FREE
    Open to the Public
  • Decoding Imagined Sounds with EEG

    Date: 
    Fri, 10/04/2013 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
    Location: 
    Seminar Room
    Event Type: 
    Hearing Seminar
    I’d like to talk about some EEG experiments we did at the Telluride Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop this last summer. We were interested in seeing whether we could measure and characterize the response to imagined sounds. This is a form of top-down signal, important for how we understand the complicated world around us. I’ll talk about the motivation for our work, the experiment, the preliminary results, and where we go next.

    This is very preliminary work, no final results, so I expect this will evolve into a general discussion of EEG and auditory perception.

    FREE
    Open to the Public