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The Intrinsic Memorability of Everyday Sounds

Of the many sounds we encounter throughout the day, some stay lodged in our minds more easily than others; these may serve as powerful triggers of our memories. In this paper, we measure the memorability of everyday sounds across 20,000 crowd-sourced aural memory games, and then analyze the relationship between memorability and acoustic cognitive salience features; we also assess the relationship between memorability and higher-level gestalt features such as its familiarity, valence, arousal, source type, causal certainty, and verbalizability. We suggest that modeling these cognitive processes opens the door for human-inspired compression of sound environments, automatic curation of large-scale environmental recording datasets, and real-time modification of aural events to alter their likelihood of memorability.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society