Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Joel S. Snyder

Second Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Third Committee Member

Gabriele Wulf

Fourth Committee Member

James Hyman

Number of Pages



Environmental changes are a vital source of information which can drive advantageous behavioral responses. For example, detecting visual changes can be critical when driving a vehicle or when simply walking down a busy street. Auditory perception is an essential complement to vision as it can allow awareness of changes in and out of sight. While subjective perception would suggest that our sensory representation of the world is complete, research on change deafness indicates that quite often the opposite is true. Healthy listeners often miss salient, suprathreshold auditory changes. Three separate manuscripts will be presented, each of which aims to advance the current understanding of change deafness using a different approach. The first manuscript examined how focused attention modulates auditory scene perception, and found that attention to change-relevant objects is crucial for successful change detection, and that encouraging broad attention to multiple objects is the best way to reduce change deafness. The second manuscript examined whether auditory memory limitations are a significant cause of change deafness, and found that change detection is generally limited by capacity, but that auditory memory long lasting for sounds with naturalistic acoustic structures. Finally, the third manuscript determines whether change deafness can be reduced by training, and found that auditory change detection can be enhanced relatively rapidly, although the training regimen type can determine whether improvement occurs immediately (fast learning) or if learning continues to develop hour after training ceased (slow learning). Together, the data generated from these experiments has led to a better understanding of what causes change detection error and whether it can be reduced.


Attention; Auditory Perception; Auditory Scene Analysis; Change Detection; Learning


Cognitive Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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