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Psychoacoustics

A field of science that studies how we perceive sound and extract useful information from acoustical signals. It concerns itself primarily with low-level functions of the auditory system and thus doesn’t much overlap with the study of music or aesthetics. Basic psychoacoustical research is mainly directed toward such topics as directional hearing, pitch, timbre and loudness perception, auditory scene analysis (the separation of sound sources and acoustical influences from sound signals) and related lower functions, such as the workings of our ears, neural coding of auditory signals, the mechanisms of interaction between multiple simultaneously heard sound sources, neural pathways from ears to the auditory cortex, their development and the role of evolution in the development of hearing. Psychoacoustical research has resulted in an enormous amount of data which can readily be applied to sound compression, representation, production and processing, musicology, speech recognition and composition, to give just a few examples.

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