A psychophysical experiment was undertaken to investigate whether human listeners are able to perceive the material properties of struck plates when they are suspended in air, and also when they are artificially damped by suspension in water. Listener's judgements of the size, shape and material of the plates were found to be less reliable for the damped case. A computational model was developed which estimates the material properties of an impulsive sound by measuring the decay rate of significant acoustic components at the ouput of an auditory filterbank. The model provides a good overall match to the pattern of human responses in the psychophysical study.
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