Reports on Progress:

Computer Games and Multichannel Audio Quality

The effect of division of attention between the evaluation of multichannel audio quality and involvement in a visual task (playing a computer game) was investigated. It was observed that involvement in a visual task may significantly change the results obtained during evaluation of audio quality for some listeners and for some experimental conditions. It was also found that this effect is listener-specific and the global effect observed after averaging the results across all listeners is small but significant.

figure: Channels

Fig.1 Scores obtained from subject No. 1. Plots based on the ANOVA model.

Fig.1 shows the results obtained from the subject No. 1. The horizontal axis represents cut-off frequencies of the low-pass filter used for the degradation of the technical quality of audio signal (20 kHz corresponds to the unimpaired recording - hidden reference). For cut-off frequencies equal to 13 and 14 kHz there are significant differences between the two main experimental conditions: when the listener was playing the game the scores were "better" than during passive watching of the static picture. In other words, for these two cut-off frequencies the listener was more tolerant towards impairments of audio quality when his attention was divided between playing the game and evaluating audio quality.

For description of the experimental design and overview of the main results see Zielinski (2003b) and Kassier (2003).