Our Research

Trevor Agus

Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 4445

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or call +44(0)2890 973091.

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Research Interests

I am interested in the perception of sound -- specifically, how we recognise what a sound is. Although this sounds like a trivial question, we don't yet have good answers for it, and this is a limiting factor for our ability to work with sound, whether we are making music, programming a computer to respond to specific sounds, or designing hearing aids and other audioprostheses.

So far, I have shown (using psychoacoustical methods) that our perception of sounds changes rapidly with learning (Agus et al., 2010; 2013) and that our ability to rapidly recognise vocal sounds does not stem from any of their basic acoustical properties independently (Agus et al. 2012).

I have also measured young and elderly listeners' abilities to understand one person when two people are talking, and separated out components related to their ears and their brains. Despite the difficulties reported in more cognitively complex situations (Agus et al., 2008a), elderly listeners seem to be missing out primarily due to their ageing ears -- their auditory neural pathways seemed to be working fine (Agus et al. 2008b).

In collaborations, I work with special populations (deaf participants, dyslexic participants, and native speakers of different languages) to answer related questions, using both psychoacoustical techniques and neural imaging techniques, such as fMRI.


I teach technical and scientific aspects of working with sound and enjoy teaching these challenging topics to students from a wide range of educational backgrounds.

My current portfolio of modules includes:

* Fundamentals of Sound (level 1)

* Acoustics and Perception (level 2)

* Psychology of Music (level 2)

* Digital Signal Processing (level 3--currently not running)

* Psychoacoustics (level 3--currently not running)


I also supervise individual projects for students with particularly keen interests that aren't met within the modules. These have ranged from a quantitative study comparing different music-therapy techniques to a review of recent developments in the design of electric guitars.

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Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

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