Laurie Heller photo

Laurie M. Heller

Lecturer in Cognitive Science
Assistant Professor of Research

Office: Metcalf Research 220
Phone: (401) 863-3989

Be a Participant in the Auditory Lab Research program . . .

I am interested in how people identify and locate the sound sources around them. My research on the auditory perception of sound location has been motivated by fundamental questions about how people segregate multilple sources of information in complex scenes and how people perceive the space around them. I have also conducted research on auditory health, using otoacoustic emissions (sound emitted from the ear) as a tool to detect and prevent hearing loss. Most recently, I have tested the limits of human sensitivity to very brief sounds. This includes modeling, testing and enhancing the aural detection and discrimination of sounds. I am also interested in the auditory understanding of a sound event, i.e. the method and materials involved in its generation. My research typically combines a psychological approach with signal processing and computation through interdisciplinary collaborations.

One potential application of this research is to improve the auditory display of information. I believe that immersive and interactive human/machine interfaces of the future will need to make advances in auditory interfaces as well as addressing the interaction between audition and vision.

Link to my lab's NSF-funded database of recorded sound events

Selected Publications:

  • Heller, L.M. and Wolf, L. (2002). When sound effects are better than the real thing. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 111, p.2339, 1pPP10.
  • Wakefield, G.H., Heller, L.M., Carney, L.H., Mellody, M. (2000). On the perception of transients: applying psychophysical constraints to improve audio analysis and synthesis. Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, Paris, September 2000.
  • Marshall, L., and Heller, L.M. (1998). Recovery from intense noise exposure: transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions and hearing thresholds. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41,1319-1334.
  • Heller, L.M. and Trahiotis, C. (1996). Extents of laterality and binaural interference effects. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 99, 3632-3637.
  • Cave, K.R., Pinker, S., Giorgi, L., Thomas, C., Heller, L.M., Wolfe, J.M., and Lin, H. (1994). The representation of location in visual images. Cognitive Psychology, 26, 1-32.