Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Jeanine Stefanucci

Committee Members

Joshua A. Burk

Randolph A. Coleman


Can a small change in the parameter of a to-be-remembered tone sequence affect how likely it is that a listener will recall it later? Naturally occurring amplitude envelopes (the intensity of a sound over time) have been shown to facilitate memorization of a series of tones better than computer-generated, flat envelopes (Schutz, Stefanucci, Carberry & Roth, 2009). Specifically, tone sequences with percussive tone envelopes (those that have a short attack and an exponential decay) are learned faster than those with flat tone envelopes (tones with no attack or decay, only a static onset and offset of the amplitude), even though both sets of tone sequences are easily recognized. However, when participants are given equal exposure to either a set of percussive tones or flat tones, those who learn with percussive tones recall significantly more sequences than those who learn with flat tones. The experiments in this thesis replicated the effect found in Schutz et al. (2009) and suggest that the cognitive advantage of percussive amplitude envelopes does not have a specific locus (e.g. encoding or retrieval), but rather stems from information inherent to the tones themselves, and that this is effect is due to the ecological validity of percussive tones.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only