Perceiving and Reenacting Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Walking Sounds

William Young, Matthew Rodger, Cathy M Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Many studies have examined the processes involved in recognizing types of human action through sound, but little is known about whether the physical characteristics of an action (such as kinetic and kinematic parameters) can be perceived and imitated from sound. Twelve young healthy adults listened to recordings of footsteps on a gravel path taken from walks of different stride lengths (SL) and cadences. In 1 protocol, participants performed a real-time reenactment of the walking action depicted in a sound sample. Second, participants listened to 2 different sound samples and discriminated differences in SL. In a 2nd experiment, these procedures were repeated using synthesized sounds derived from the kinetic interactions between the foot and walking surface. A 3rd experiment examined the influence of altered cadence on participants' ability to discriminate changes in SL. Participants significantly adapted their own SL and cadence according to those depicted in both real and synthesized sounds (p <.01). However, although participants accurately discriminated between large changes in SL, these perceptions were heavily influenced by temporal factors, that is, when cadence changed between samples. These findings show that spatial attributes of action sounds can be both mimicked and discriminated, even when only basic kinetic interactions present within the action are specified. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464
Number of pages476
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception and Performance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


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