The major aim of this book is to introduce the ways in which scientists approach and think about a phenomenon -- hearing -- that intersects three quite different disciplines: the physics of sound sources and the propagation of sound through air and other materials, the anatomy and physiology of the transformation of the physical sound into neural activity in the brain, and the psychology of the perception we call hearing. Physics, biology, and psychology each play a role in understanding how and what we hear.
The text evolved over the past decade in an attempt to convey something about scientific thinking, as evidenced in the domain of sounds and their perception, to students whose primary focus is not science. It does so using a minimum of mathematics (high school functions such as linear, logarithmic, sine, and power) without compromising scientific integrity. A significant enrichment is the availability of a compact disc (CD) containing over 20 examples of acoustic demonstrations referred to in the book. These demonstrations, which range from echo effects and filtered noise to categorical speech perception and total more than 45 minutes, are invaluable resources for making the text come alive.
Table of Contents
Contents: Part I: Transmission, Transduction, and Black Boxes. Signal Transmission. Signal Reception. Transducers. Black and Not-So-Black Boxes. Reductionism in Science. Part II: Descriptive Physics of Pure Tones. Propagation of Pulses. Generation of Waves. Wave Propagation in Time and Space. The Doppler Effect. Reflection and Refraction of Waves. Some Formal Material That Is Useful in Audition. Dimensions of Physical Quantities. Measuring Sound Intensity. Sound Attenuation Through a Change of Medium. Localizing a Sound Source. Resonance and Filters. Summary of the Main Concepts About Simple Waves. Further Reading. Part III: Properties of the Ear. The Outer and Middle Ears. The Inner Ear. Hair Cells and the Auditory Nerve. Neural Coding of Auditory Information. Interplay of Behavior and Physiology. Further Reading. Part IV: Psychophysics of Pure Tones. The Issues of Psychophysics. Local Psychophysics. Global Psychophysics. Bridging Local and Global Psychophysics. Summary. Further Reading. Part V: Descriptive Physics of Complex Sounds. Superposition. Standing Waves. Synthesis of a Complex Wave in Terms of Harmonics. NonLinear Distortion. Noise. Summary. Further Reading. Part VI: Psychophysics of Complex Sounds. Examples Where the Phenomenon Is Physical. Pure Tone Masking and Facilitation. Noise Masking and Facilitation. Illusory Pitch (or the Missing Fundamental). Echoes and Reverberation. Perceptual Structuring of Sounds. Speech: A Special Perceptual Ability. Some Relations of Hearing to the Other Senses, Especially Vision. Further Reading. Part VII: Exercises. Review Questions Covering the Entire Text. Part VIII: References. Appendix: The Demonstration Disk.
"...an excellent example of how one can present comprehensive accounts of intertwined psychological, physiological, and physical aspects of perceptual phenomena on a nontechnical level but without compromising the essence of their serious scientific analysis....highly suitable for teaching elements of psychophysics and neurophysiology to physics undergraduates..."
"...represents an excellent introduction to the basic concepts of hearing."
"Luce has crafted an impressive book....Intended for undergraduates (bright ones), it contains the best introduction to acoustics to appear in quite some time."
—Annual Reviews of Psychology