4aPPa24 – Effects of meaningful or meaningless noise on psychological impression for annoyance and selective attention to stimuli during intellectual task  – Takahiro Tamesue

4aPPa24 – Effects of meaningful or meaningless noise on psychological impression for annoyance and selective attention to stimuli during intellectual task – Takahiro Tamesue

Effects of meaningful or meaningless noise on psychological impression for annoyance and selective attention to stimuli during intellectual task

Takahiro Tamesue – tamesue@yamaguchi-u.ac.jp
Yamaguchi University
1677-1 Yoshida, Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi Prefecture 753-8511

Popular version of poster 4aPPa24, “Effects of meaningful or meaningless noise on psychological impression for annoyance and selective attention to stimuli during intellectual task”
Presented Thursday morning, December 1, 2016
172nd ASA Meeting, Honolulu
Open offices that make effective use of limited space and encourage dialogue, interaction, and collaboration among employees are becoming increasingly common. However, productive work-related conversation might actually decrease the performance of other employees within earshot — more so than other random, meaningless noises. When carrying out intellectual activities involving memory or arithmetic tasks, it is a common experience for noise to cause an increased psychological impression of “annoyance,” leading to a decline in performance. This is more apparent for meaningful noise, such as conversation, than it is for other random, meaningless noise. In this study, the impact of meaningless and meaningful noises on selective attention and cognitive performance in volunteers, as well as the degree of subjective annoyance of those noises, were investigated through physiological and psychological experiments.

The experiments were based on the so-called “odd-ball” paradigm — a test used to examine selective attention and information processing ability. In the odd-ball paradigm, subjects detect and count rare target events embedded in a series of repetitive events. To complete the odd-ball task it is necessary to regulate attention to a stimulus. In one trial, subjects had to count the number of times the infrequent target sounds occurred under meaningless or meaningful noises over a 10 minute period. The infrequent sound — appearing 20% of the time—was a 2 kHz tone burst; the frequent sound was a 1 kHz tone burst. In a visual odd-ball test, subjects observed pictures flashing on a PC monitor as meaningless or meaningful sounds were played to both ears through headphones. The most infrequent image was 10 x 10 centimeter-squared red image; the most frequent was a green square. At the end of the trial, the subjects also rated their level of annoyance at each sound on a seven-point scale.

During the experiments, the subjects brain waves were measured through electrodes placed on their scalp. In particular, we look at what is called, “event-related potentials,” very small voltages generated in the brain structures in response to specific events or stimuli that generate electroencephalograph waveforms. Example results, after appropriate averaging, of wave forms of event-related potentials under no external noise are shown in Figure 1. The so-called N100 component peaks negatively about 100 milliseconds after the stimulus and the P300 component positive peaks positively around 300 milliseconds after a stimulus, related to selective attention and working memory. Figure 2 and 3 show the results of event-related potentials for infrequent sound under the meaningless and meaningful noise. N100 and P300 components are smaller in amplitude and longer in latency because of the meaningful noise compared to the meaningless noise.


Figure 1. Averaged wave forms of evoked Event-related potentials for infrequent sound under no external noise.


Figure 2. Averaged wave forms of evoked Event-related potentials for infrequent sound under meaningless noise.


Figure 3. Averaged wave forms of auditory evoked Event-related potentials under meaningful noise.

We employed a statistical method called, “principal component analysis” to identify the latent components. Results of statistical analysis, where four principal components were extracted as shown in Figure 4. Considering the results, where component scores of meaningful noise was smaller than other noise conditions, meaningful noise reduces the component of event-related potentials. Thus, selective attention to cognitive tasks was influenced by the degree of meaningfulness of the noise.



Figure 4. Loadings of principal component analysis

Figure 5 shows the results for annoyance in the auditory odd-ball paradigms. These results demonstrated that the subjective experience of annoyance in response to noise increased due to the meaningfulness of the noise. The results revealed that whether the noise is meaningless or meaningful had a strong influence not only on the selective attention to auditory stimuli in cognitive tasks, but also the subjective experience of annoyance.


Figure 5. Subjective experience of annoyance (Auditory odd-ball paradigms)

That means that when designing sound environments in spaces used for cognitive tasks, such as the workplace or schools, it is appropriate to consider not only the sound level, but also meaningfulness of the noise that is likely to be present. Surrounding conversations often disturb the business operations conducted in such open offices. Because it is difficult to soundproof an open office, a way to mask meaningful speech with some other sound would be of great benefit for achieving a comfortable sound environment.


4pBA1 – Kidney stone pushing and trapping using focused ultrasound beams of different structure – Oleg Sapozhnikov

Kidney stone pushing and trapping using focused ultrasound beams of different structure

Oleg Sapozhnikov – olegs@apl.washington.edu
Mike Bailey – bailey@apl.washigton.edu
Adam Maxwell – amax38@uw.edu

Physics Faculty
Moscow State Univerity

Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound
Applied Physics Laboratory
University of Washington
Seattle, WashingtonUNITED STATES

Popular version of paper 4pBA1, “Kidney stone pushing and trapping using focused ultrasound beams of different structure.”
Presented Thursday afternoon, December 1, 2016 at 1:00pmHAST.
172nd ASA Meeting, Honolulu

Urinary stones (such as kidney or bladder stones) are an important health care problem. One in 11 Americans now has urinary stone disease (USD), and the prevalence is increasing. According to a 2012 report from the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney and Digestive Diseases (Urological Diseases in America), the direct medical cost of USD in the United States is $10 billion annually, making it the most expensive urologic condition.

Our lab is working to develop more effective and more efficient ways to treat stones. Existing treatments such as shock wave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy are minimally invasive, but can leave behind stone fragments that remain in the kidney and potentially regrow into larger stones over time. We have successfully developed and demonstrated the use of ultrasound to noninvasively move stones in the kidney of human subjects. This technology, called ultrasonic propulsion (UP), uses ultrasound to apply a directional force to the stone, propelling it in a direction away from the sonic source, or transducer. Some stones need to be moved towards the ureteropelvic junction (the exit from the kidney that allows stones to pass through the ureter to the bladder) to aid their passage. In other cases, this technology may be useful to relieve an obstruction caused by a stone that may just need a nudge or a rotation to pass, or at least to allow urine to flow and decompress the kidney.

While UP is able to help stones pass, it is limited in how the stones can be manipulated by an ultrasound transducer in contact with the skin from outside the body. Some applications require the stone to be moved sideways or towards the transducer rather than away from it.

To achieve more versatile manipulation of stones, we are developing a new strategy to effectively trap a stone in an ultrasound beam. Acoustic trapping has been explored by several other researchers, particularly for trapping and manipulating cells, bubbles, droplets, and particles much smaller than length of the sound wave. Different configurations have been used to trap particles in standing waves and focused fields. By trapping the stone in an ultrasound beam, we can then move the transducer or electronically steer the beam to move the stone with it.

In this work, we accomplished trapping through the use of vortex beams. Typical focused beams create a single region of high ultrasound pressure, producing radiation force away from the transducer. Vortex beams, on the other hand, are focused beams that create a tube-shaped intensity pattern with a spiraling wave front (Fig. 1). The ultrasound pressure in the middle is very low, while the pressure around the center is high. The result is that there is a component of the ultrasound radiation force pushing the stone towards the center and trapping it in the middle of the beam. In addition to trapping, such a beam can apply a torque to the stone and can rotate it.

To test this idea, we simulated the radiation force on spheres of different materials (including stones) to determine how each would respond in a vortex beam. An example is shown in Fig 2. A lateral-axial cross section of the beam is displayed, with a spherical stone off-center in the tube-shaped beam. The red arrow shows that the force on the sphere is away from the center because the stone is outside of the vortex. Once the center of the stone crosses the peak, the force is directed inward. Usually, there is also some force away from the transducer still, but the object can be trapped against a surface.

We also built transducers and electrically excited them to generate the vortex in experiments. At first, we used the vortex to trap, rotate, and drag an object on the water surface (Fig. 3). By changing the charge of the vortex beam (the rate of spiraling generated by the transducer), we controlled the diameter of the vortex beam, as well as the direction and speed at which the objects rotated. We also tested manipulation of objects placed deep in a water tank. Glass or plastic beads and kidney stones placed on a platform of tissue-mimicking material. By physically shifting the transducer, we were able to move these objects a specified distance and direction along the platform (Fig 4). These results are best seen in videos at apl.uw.edu/pushing stones.

We have since worked on developing vortex beams with a 256-element focused array transducer. Our complex array can electronically move the beam and drag the stone without physically moving the transducer. In a highly focused transducer, such as our array, sound can even be focused beyond the stone to generate an axial high pressure spot to help trap a stone axially or even pull the stone toward the transducer.

There are several ways in which this technology might be useful for kidney stones. In some cases, it might be employed in gathering small particles together and moving them collectively, holding a larger stone in place for fragmentation techniques such as lithotripsy, sweeping a stone when the anatomy inhibits direct radiation force away from the transducer, or, as addressed here dragging or pulling a stone. In the future, we expect to continue developing phased array technology to more controllably manipulate stones. We are also working to develop and validate new beam profiles, and electronic controls to remotely gather the stone and move it to a new location. We expect that this sort of tractor beam could also have applications in manufacturing, such as ever shrinking electronics, and even in space.

This work was supported by RBBR 14-02- 00426, NIH NIDDK DK43881 and DK104854, and NSBRI through NASA NCC 9-58.


  1. O.A. Sapozhnikov and M.R. Bailey. Radiation force of an arbitrary acoustic beam on an elastic sphere in a fluid. – J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 2013, v. 133, no. 2, pp. 661-676.
  2. A.V. Nikolaeva, S.A. Tsysar, and O.A. Sapozhnikov. Measuring the radiation force of megahertz ultrasound acting on a solid spherical scatterer. – Acoustical Physics, 2016, v. 62, no. 1, pp. 38-45.
  3. J.D. Harper, B.W. Cunitz, B. Dunmire, F.C. Lee, M.D. Sorensen, R.S. Hsi, J. Thiel, H. Wessells, J.E. Lingeman, and M.R. Bailey. First in human clinical trial of ultrasonic propulsion of kidney stones. – J. Urology, 2016, v. 195, no. 4 (Part 1), pp. 956–964.

Figure 1. The cross section at the focus for the ultrasound pressure of a vortex beam. The pressure magnitude (left) has a donut-shape distribution, whereas the phase (right) has a spiral-shape structure. A stone can be trapped at the center of the ring.


Figure 2. The simulated tubular field such as occurs in a vortex beam and its force on a stone. In this simulation the transducer is on the left and the ultrasound propagates to the right. The arrow indicates the force which depends on the position of the stone (see video ‘Vortex beam for transversal trapping.wmv’)

Figure 3. A small object trapped in the center of a vortex beam on the water surface. The ring-shaped impression due to radiation force on the surface can be seen. The phase difference between each sector element of the transducer affects the diameter of the beam and the spin rate. The 2 mm plastic object floating on the surface is made to rotate by the vortex beam (see video ‘’ Vortex beam rotates piece of plastic on water surface.wmv).

Figure 4. A focused vortex beam transducer in water (shown on the top) traps one of the styrofoam beads (shown in the bottom) and translates it in lateral direction (see video ‘Trapping and moving styrofoam beads underwater.wmv’)


2aABa3 – Indris’ melodies are individually distinctive and genetically driven – Marco Gamba

2aABa3 – Indris’ melodies are individually distinctive and genetically driven – Marco Gamba

Indris’ melodies are individually distinctive and genetically driven

Marco Gamba – marco.gamba@unito.it
Cristina Giacoma – cristina.giacoma@unito.it

University of Torino
Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology
Via Accademia Albertina 13
10123 Torino, Italy

Popular version of paper 2aABa3 “Melody in my head, melody in my genes? Acoustic similarity, individuality and genetic relatedness in the indris of Eastern Madagascar”
Presented Tuesday morning, November 29, 2016
172nd ASA Meeting, Honolulu


Melody in my head, melody in my genes?
Acoustic similarity, individuality and genetic relatedness in the indris of Eastern Madagascar


Human hearing ablities are exceptional at identifying the voices of friends and relatives [1]. The potential for this identification lies in the acoustic structures of our words, which not only convey verbal information (the meaning of our words) but also non-verbal cues (such as sex and identity of the speakers).

In animal communication, the recognizing a member of the same species can also be important. Birds and mammals may adjust their signals that function for neighbor recognition, and the discrimination between a known neighbor and a stranger would result in strikingly different responses in term of territorial defense [2].

Indris (Indri indri) are the only lemurs that produce group songs and among the few primate species that communicate using articulated singing displays. The most distinctive portions of the indris’ song are called descending phrases, consisting of between two and five units or notes. We recorded 21 groups of indris in the Eastern rainforests of Madagascar from 2005 to 2015. In each recording, we identified individuals using natural markings. We noticed that group encounters were rare, and hypothesized that song might play a role in providing members of the same species with information about the sex and identity of an individual singer and the emitting group.




We found we could effectively discriminate between the descending phrases of an individual indris, showing they have the potential for advertising about sex and individual identity. This strengthened the hypothesis that song may play a role in processes like kinship and mate recognition. Finding that there is was degree of group specificity in the song also supports the idea that neighbor-stranger recognition is also important in the indris and that the song may function announcing territorial occupation and spacing.




Traditionally, primate songs are considered an example of a genetically determined display. Thus the following step in our research was to examine whether the structure of the phrases could relate to the genetic relatedness of the indris. We found a significant correlation between the genetic relatedness of the studied individuals and the acoustic similarity of their song phrases. This suggested that genetic relatedness may play a role in determining song similarity.

For the first time, we found evidence that the similarity of a primate vocal display changes within a population in a way that is strongly associated with kin. When examining differences between sexes we found that male offspring showed phrases that were more similar to their fathers, while daughters did not show similarity with any of their parents.




The potential for kin detection may play a vital role in determining relationships within a population, regulating dispersal, and avoiding inbreeding. Singing displays may advertise kin to signal against potential mating, information that females, and to a lesser degree males, can use when forming a new group. Unfortunately, we still do not know whether indris can perceptually decode this information or how they use it in their everyday life. But work like this sets the basis for understanding primates’ mating and social systems and lays the foundation for better conservation methods.


  1. Belin, P. Voice processing in human and non-human primates. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2006. 361: p. 2091-2107.
  2. Randall, J. A. Discrimination of foot drumming signatures by kangaroo rats, Dipodomys spectabilis. Animal Behaviour, 1994. 47: p. 45-54.
  3. Gamba, M., Torti, V., Estienne, V., Randrianarison, R. M., Valente, D., Rovara, P., Giacoma, C. The Indris Have Got Rhythm! Timing and Pitch Variation of a Primate Song Examined between Sexes and Age Classes. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2016. 10: p. 249.
  4. Torti, V., Gamba, M., Rabemananjara, Z. H., Giacoma, C. The songs of the indris (Mammalia: Primates: Indridae): contextual variation in the long-distance calls of a lemur. Italian Journal of Zoology, 2013. 80, 4.
  5. Barelli, C., Mundry, R., Heistermann, M., Hammerschmidt, K. Cues to androgen and quality in male gibbon songs. PLoS ONE, 2013. 8: e82748.


Figure legends.


Figure 1. A female indri with offspring in the Maromizaha Forest, Madagascar. Maromizaha is a New Protected Area located in the Region Alaotra-Mangoro, east of Madagascar. It is managed by GERP (Primate Studies and Research Group). At least 13 species of lemurs have been observed in the area.

Figure 2. Spectrograms of an indri song showing a typical sequence of different units. In the enlarged area, the pitch contour in red shows a typical “descending phrase” of 4 units. The indris also emit phrases of 2, 3 and more rarely 5 or 6 units.

Figure 3. A 3d-plot of the dimensions (DF1, DF2, DF3) generated from a Discriminant model that successfully assigned descending phrases of four units (DP4) to the emitter. Colours denote individuals. The descending phrases of two (DP2) and three units (DP3) also showed a percentage of correct classification rate significantly above chance.



2aNS – How virtual reality technologies can enable better soundscape design – Chung

2aNS – How virtual reality technologies can enable better soundscape design – Chung

How virtual reality technologies can enable better soundscape design.

W.M. To – wmto@ipm.edu.mo
Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao SAR, China.
A. Chung – ac@smartcitymakter.com
Smart City Maker, Denmark.
B. Schulte-Fortkamp – b.schulte-fortkamp@tu-berlin.de
Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Popular version of paper 2aNS, “How virtual reality technologies can enable better soundscape design”
Presented Tuesday morning, November 29, 2016
172nd ASA Meeting, Honolulu

The quality of life including good sound quality has been sought by community members as part of the smart city initiative. While many governments have placed special attention to waste management, air and water pollution, acoustic environment in cities has been directed toward the control of noise, in particular, transportation noise. Governments that care about the tranquility in cities rely primarily on setting the so-called acceptable noise levels i.e. just quantities for compliance and improvement [1]. Sound quality is most often ignored. Recently, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released the standard on soundscape [2]. However, sound quality is a subjective matter and depends heavily on the perception of humans in different contexts [3]. For example, China’s public parks are well known to be rather noisy in the morning due to the activities of boisterous amateur musicians and dancers – many of them are retirees and housewives – or “Da Ma” [4]. These activities would cause numerous complaints if they would happen in other parts of the world, but in China it is part of everyday life.

According to the ISO soundscape guideline, people can use sound walks, questionnaire surveys, and even lab tests to determine sound quality during a soundscape design process [3]. With the advance of virtual reality technologies, we believe that the current technology enables us to create an application that immerses designers and stakeholders in the community to perceive and compare changes in sound quality and to provide feedback on different soundscape designs. An app has been developed specifically for this purpose. Figure 1 shows a simulated environment in which a student or visitor arrives the school’s campus, walks through the lawn, passes a multifunctional court, and get into an open area with table tennis tables. She or he can experience different ambient sounds and can click an object to increase or decrease the volume of sound from that object. After hearing sounds at different locations from different sources, the person can evaluate the level of acoustic comfort at each location and express their feelings toward overall soundscape.  She or he can rate the sonic environment based on its degree of perceived loudness and its level of pleasantness using a 5-point scale from 1 = ‘heard nothing/not at all pleasant’ to 5 = ‘very loud/pleasant’. Besides, she or he shall describe the acoustic environment and soundscape using free words because of the multi-dimensional nature of sonic environment.

Figure 1. A simulated soundwalk in a school campus.

  1. To, W. M., Mak, C. M., and Chung, W. L.. Are the noise levels acceptable in a built environment like Hong Kong? Noise and Health, 2015. 17(79): 429-439.
  2. ISO. ISO 12913-1:2014 Acoustics – Soundscape – Part 1: Definition and Conceptual Framework, Geneva: International Organization for Standardization, 2014.
  3. Kang, J. and Schulte-Fortkamp, B. (Eds.). Soundscape and the Built Environment, CRC Press, 2016.
  4. Buckley, C. and Wu, A. In China, the ‘Noisiest Park in the World’ Tries to Tone Down Rowdy Retirees, NYTimes.com, from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/world/asia/china-chengdu-park-noise.html , 2016.


2pABa1 – Snap chat: listening in on the peculiar acoustic patterns of snapping shrimp, the noisiest animals on the reef – Ashlee Lillis

2pABa1 – Snap chat: listening in on the peculiar acoustic patterns of snapping shrimp, the noisiest animals on the reef – Ashlee Lillis

Snap chat: listening in on the peculiar acoustic patterns of snapping shrimp, the noisiest animals on the reef

Ashlee Lillis – ashlee@whoi.edu
T. Aran Mooney – amooney@whoi.edu

Marine Research Facility
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
266 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Popular version of paper 2pABa1
Presented Tuesday afternoon, November 29, 2016
172nd ASA Meeting, Honolulu

Characteristic soundscape recorded on a coral reef in St. John, US Virgin Islands. The conspicuous crackle is produced by many tiny snapping shrimp.

Put your head underwater in almost any tropical or sub-tropical coastal area and you will hear a continuous, static-like noise filling the water. The source of this ubiquitous sizzling sound found in shallow-water marine environments around the world was long considered a mystery of the sea. It wasn’t until WWII investigations of this underwater sound, considered troublesome, that hidden colonies of a type of small shrimp were discovered as the cause of the pervasive crackling sounds (Johnson et al., 1947).

Individual snapping shrimp (Figure 1), sometimes referred to as pistol shrimp, measure smaller than a few centimeters, but produce one of the loudest of all sounds in nature using a specialized snapping claw. The high intensity sound is actually the result of a bubble popping when the claw is closed at incredibly high speed, creating not only the characteristic “snap” sound but also a flash of light and extremely high temperature, all in a fraction of a millisecond (Versluis et al., 2000). Because these shrimp form large, dense aggregations, living unseen within reefs and rocky habitats, the combination of individual snaps creates the consistent crackling sound familiar to mariners. Snapping is used by shrimp for defense and territorial interactions, but likely serves other unknown functions based on our recent studies.


[Insert Figure 1. Images of the species of snapping shrimp, Alpheus heterochaelis, we are using to test hypotheses in the lab. This isthe dominant species of snapping shrimp found coastally in the Southeast United States, but there are hundreds of different species worldwide, easily identified by their relatively large snapping claw. ]

Since snapping shrimp produce the dominant sound in many marine regions, changes in their activity or population substantially alters ambient sound levels at a given location or time. This means that the behavior of snapping shrimp exerts an outsized influence on the sensory environment for a variety of marine animals, and has implications for the use of underwater sound by humans (e.g., harbor defense, submarine detection). Despite this fundamental contribution to the acoustic environment of temperate and coral reefs, relatively little is known about snapping shrimp sound patterns, and the underlying behaviors or environmental influences. So essentially, we ask the question: what is all the snapping about?


[Insert Figure 2. Photo showing an underwater acoustic recorder deployed in a coral reef setting. Recorders can be left to record sound samples at scheduled times (e.g. every 10 minutes) so that we can examine the long-term temporal trends in snapping shrimp acoustic activity on the reef.]

Recent advances in underwater recording technology and interest in passive acoustic monitoring have aided our efforts to sample marine soundscapes more thoroughly (Figure 2), and we are discovering complex dynamics in snapping shrimp sound production. We collected long-term underwater recordings in several Caribbean coral reef systems and analyzed the snapping shrimp snap rates. Our soundscape data show that snap rates generally exhibit daily rhythms (Figure 3), but that these rhythms can vary over short spatial scales (e.g., opposite patterns between nearby reefs) and shift substantially over time (e.g., daytime versus nighttime snapping during different seasons). These acoustic patterns relate to environmental variables such as temperature, light, and dissolved oxygen, as well as individual shrimp behaviors themselves.


[Insert Figure 3. Time-series of snap rates detected on two nearby USVI coral reefs for a week-long recording period. Snapping shrimp were previously thought to consistently snap more during the night, but we found in this study location that shrimp were more active during the day, with strong dawn and dusk peaks at one of the sites. This pattern conflicts with what little is known about snapping behaviors and is motivating further studies of why they snap.]

The relationships between environment, behaviors, and sound production by snapping shrimp are really only beginning to be explored. By listening in on coral reefs, our work is uncovering intriguing patterns that suggest a far more complex picture of the role of snapping shrimp in these ecosystems, as well as the role of snapping for the shrimp themselves. Learning more about the diverse habits and lifestyles of snapping shrimp species is critical to better predicting and understanding variation in this dominant sound source, and has far-reaching implications for marine ecosystems and human applications of underwater sound.



Johnson, M. W., F. Alton Everest, and Young, R. W. (1947). “The role of snapping shrimp (Crangon and Synalpheus) in the production of underwater noise in the sea,” Biol. Bull. 93, 122–138.

Versluis, M., Schmitz, B., von der Heydt, A., and Lohse, D. (2000). “How snapping shrimp snap: through cavitating bubbles,” Science, 289, 2114–2117. doi:10.1126/science.289.5487.2114