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Impact of listening fatigue , during ABX test.

Reply #25
Which is why I suggested a few months ago that the "hide results" box should be checked by default. Best approach IMHO for people using foobar's ABX tool for the first time. But I guess this is the wrong place for such suggestions.

Chris
If I don't reply to your reply, it means I agree with you.

Impact of listening fatigue , during ABX test.

Reply #26
Really, the utility of the "hide results" box is a topic for a separate discussion.

However I think there is an aspect of being able to see "progressive results" that is relevant for the current thread.  Like extrabigmehdi, I find that fatigue sets in quickly.  (Fatigue could be due to desensitization of the nerve receptors in the ear, desensitization of the brain's processing of the nervous impulses from the ear, or both.)

For me, sometimes the fatigue is obvious - samples that were initially distinguishable seem so much the same that I lose any confidence in giving an answer.  (In such a situation I would not need to see progressive results to tell that to continue giving answers without taking a break, or without changing the segment of the test files I was listening to, would be futile.)

But sometimes the fatigue is not obvious. This is most likely when the samples are extremely similar.  The intense concentration required can result in a false sensation of hearing a difference. In such circumstances, ability to see progressive results provides assurance that persisting with the ABX session is worthwhile.

Yes there is potential impairment of the statistical significance of results if progressive results can be seen (and that impairment has been referred to before and could be discussed as a separate topic), but without the availability of progressive results, the ABX process can prove not only labourious but fruitless.  I know that if I spent 45 minutes listening intently and providing 16 answers I would be extremely disappointed to find that the first 4 answers were correct, and the next 12 were no better than random guesses!  An overall result of 10 out of 16 correct.  But had I been able to see progressive results, then on getting the 5th answer wrong, I would have been alerted to the need to shift the test selection to another segment of the files under comparison.  If the new selection proved to be more revealing of discrepancies for my hearing, and not subject to fatigue, then my overall ABX result might have been 15 correct out of 16, instead of 10 out of 16.  Another approach would be to restart testing using the more revealing and less fatiguing segment.  However I find that with many test files asked to be ABX'd there is no segment that is revealing and not fatiguing, for my hearing.

Impact of listening fatigue , during ABX test.

Reply #27
Hum, I  got the feeling that people wanted to discuss more about the "hide results" box in foobar's ABX tool, but not here.
I  hope it's not a mistake, but I've created a separate thread, to discuss only about this issue.
You can find it here.

Impact of listening fatigue , during ABX test.

Reply #28
Bumping this old thread. I think it's on topic but feel free to split.

Recently a member on the sursound maillist wrote about listening fatigue:
Quote
I often combat this effect do some 'ear-freshening' in the form of playing slow attack pink noise for +/- 10-sec. It seems to 'clear the ears' faster than silence. I have not found any empirical testing of this phenomena, so I am wondering if other people do this, or something similar?

I also find some freshening in listening to noise signals. Is this a known technique and if so, how can the healing effect be explained ?

Impact of listening fatigue , during ABX test.

Reply #29
From my recent experience with low-pass ABXing:
While ABXing, I usually focus on a single element in the music where I hear/think the difference is most obvious. This implies playing the same very short portion (~2 seconds or less) of the sample over and over again. This becomes uncomfortable real quick (as few as ~20 replays for me) due to the short duration and monotone nature of the auditory stimulus, which is very unlike what humans normally hear (music or environment sounds). I don't think this is physical fatigue in the ear, it's mostly psychological (by the end of the 10-trial ABX, I really hated both the process and the sample). IIRC repetitious unnatural stimuli were/are used for torture (e.g. having water drops repeatedly fall on one's forehead).

Listening to something else (e.g. TV) for a while (say 1 or 2 minutes) removes some of the uncomfortable feeling but it is not enough to fully recover to the state before ABXing (it's only good for about 1 or 2 trials and then I need to repeat it). I believe the (partial) recovery simply comes from the fact that there was some variety/change of the stimulus, yet the memory still keeps the previous experience and it takes significantly longer time to completely "forget".

The above only applies to non-obvious cases where the difference is really small/hard to spot. ABXing an old Xing 128kbit MP3, for example, does not fall into this category (no need to loop over a specific short portion of the sample over and over again, artifacts are usually all over the place).

Impact of listening fatigue , during ABX test.

Reply #30
From my recent experience with low-pass ABXing:
While ABXing, I usually focus on a single element in the music where I hear/think the difference is most obvious. This implies playing the same very short portion (~2 seconds or less) of the sample over and over again. This becomes uncomfortable real quick (as few as ~20 replays for me) due to the short duration and monotone nature of the auditory stimulus, which is very unlike what humans normally hear (music or environment sounds). I don't think this is physical fatigue in the ear, it's mostly psychological (by the end of the 10-trial ABX, I really hated both the process and the sample). IIRC repetitious unnatural stimuli were/are used for torture (e.g. having water drops repeatedly fall on one's forehead).

Listening to something else (e.g. TV) for a while (say 1 or 2 minutes) removes some of the uncomfortable feeling but it is not enough to fully recover to the state before ABXing (it's only good for about 1 or 2 trials and then I need to repeat it). I believe the (partial) recovery simply comes from the fact that there was some variety/change of the stimulus, yet the memory still keeps the previous experience and it takes significantly longer time to completely "forget".

The above only applies to non-obvious cases where the difference is really small/hard to spot. ABXing an old Xing 128kbit MP3, for example, does not fall into this category (no need to loop over a specific short portion of the sample over and over again, artifacts are usually all over the place).


Nothing keeps you from using longer segments of music, ranging up to entire symphonies. Try it, and see if it helps you get reliable answers more quickly.

Impact of listening fatigue , during ABX test.

Reply #31
I'm sorry but my audio memory just decays too fast. And when the difference is hard to spot, it's usually even harder to remember.
In the particular case I mentioned, "artifacts" were apparent only in isolated moments of the sample and the rest of the sample sounded the same.

 
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