Recent years have seen considerable progress in our understanding of auditory cognitive processes - from perception, attention and memory to complex areas such as scene analysis and communication. This progress, however, is characterized by well-controlled but often unrealistic stimulus presentations. Meanwhile, audiovisual virtual reality (VR) has reached high levels of perceptual plausibility. This allows new opportunities in terms of applying interactive VR technology to enable controlled research on auditory cognition in complex audiovisual environments, including studying the effect of VR interaction on acoustic, visual and contextual factors and vice-versa.To best integrate research in auditory cognition and VR, it is important to address aspects from three scientific disciplines: acoustics, cognitive psychology, and virtual reality/computer science. The cooperation between researchers from these fields will allow synergetic effects that cannot be achieved by a single discipline. Hence, the priority program AUDICTIVE will substantially extend the knowledge of hearing-related cognitive performances in realistic scenes, and create "auditory-cognition-validated" VR technology. AUDICTIVE targets fundamental research across the three disciplines and addresses three research priorities (a) "auditory cognition", (b) "interactive audiovisual virtual Environments", and (c) "quality evaluation methods", the latter located at the interface between (a) and (b).Specific questions to address these research priorities are:a) To what extent are recent theories of auditory cognition and related empirical findings applicable in more life-like environments created by interactive audiovisual VR?b) How can the realism and vibrancy of audiovisual virtual environments be improved in terms of audiovisual representation and user interaction, based on auditory cognition research findings?c) What are the suitable quality evaluation methods that enable systematic and efficient assessment of VR systems (cf. b) in light of the targeted auditory cognition research (cf. a)?The coordination project aims to develop a framework model for systemizing methods, data management, reporting, and quality evaluation across all the projects. This will ensure that data and results are made available within and beyond the AUDICTIVE community using reproducible research and open science paradigms.Insights from AUDICTIVE are expected to advance new virtual and augmented reality technologies that include acoustics as a key component. This will enable more inclusive, sophisticated, and user-centered development in the design of applications such as immersive teleconferencing, health-promoting measures, rehabilitation, and assistive systems for special needs users.


Janina Fels
RWTH Aachen University

Project Leader

  • Jamilla Balint
    RWTH Aachen University