Contact Information

CSD 394K Psychoacoustics

University of Texas at Austin

College of Communication

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Course Syllabus


Semester: Spring, 2012


Department, Course Number, Title and Credit Hours:  CSD 394K, Psychoacoustics, 3 credits

Unique number:  06460

Class time and building:  12:30pm – 2:00 pm, Mon. and Wed.; CMA A2.134


Instructor:                    Chang Liu, PhD

Office Address:           CMA 2.212

Telephone:                                    512-232-1478        

Email Address:   

Office Hours:               9:00  – 10:30am Monday and Wednesday or by appointment


Catalog Description: This course will explore auditory processing of acoustic signals including non-speech and speech sounds in normal and abnormal human auditory systems. Lectures and laboratories will be combined as the major format of the class.


Prerequisite(s): None


Textbook(s) and Related Material:          


Brian C. J. Moore (2003). An introduction to psychology of hearing.


Technology Expectations: PowerPoint presentation will be used in some of the lectures.


Learner Outcomes:


There are two major areas in this class. The learner outcomes are listed in the three areas:


The student will be able to

  1. Acoustics
    1. Describe the basic concepts in physics related to acoustics
    2. Explain generation and properties of sinusoidal and complex sound waves
    3. Analyze acoustic properties of sounds
  2. Psychoacoustics
    1. Understand basic psychoacoustic methods used to measure listeners’ hearing psychologically.
    2. Explain auditory sensations such as loudness and pitch perception.
    3. Interpret auditory critical band and its importance in hearing in masking.
    4. Understand how temporal features of sounds are processed in normal and impaired hearing
    5. Explain how sounds are processed binaurally
    6. Interpret the relationship between basic psychoacoustic capacity and speech perception


Course Assignments: Short lab reports will be assigned every 2-3 weeks for this class. All reports are required to be completed and submitted in a hard copy before or on the due date that is specified for each lab report.  No credits will be given to overdue reports.


Quizzes and Exams: There will be no make-up quiz or exam and they may not be taken at an alternative time unless there is some documented excuse. An example of a documented, excused absence is a note from a doctor that states you are physically UNABLE to attend the final. Simply not feeling your best is NOT considered to be an excused absence, as we all have days in which we are not feeling well but must take care of our responsibilities anyway. If you are up and walking around campus on the day of the final, you must take it. Another example of a documented excused absence is family emergency for which you need to contact Dean’s office for details. Again, no make-up quizzes or exams are allowed without the documented excuse. NO EXCEPTIONS.


Attendance Policy: Attendance is required for this course. You NEED to contact the instructor at least three days before the class that you are going to miss. If any emergency, contact the instructor immediately when you are able to.


Grading:  There will be five lab reports, two exams, and one final paper. Regarding the final grade, the lab reports contributes 40% (the best four of the five will be counted), the two exams takes 40% and the final paper contributes 20%.

The overall cutoff scale is as follows (total points: 100):

93.0 – 100 A,     89.0 – 92.9 A-, 84.0 – 88.9 B+, 80.0 – 83.9 B, 77.0 – 79.9 B-, 73.0 - 76.9 C+, 70.0-72.9 C, 67.0 – 69.9 C-, 63.0-66.9 D+, 60.0-62.9 D, and 59 or below F.


Academic Honesty The University defines academic dishonesty as cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, falsifying academic records, and any act designed to avoid participating honestly in the learning process. Scholastic dishonesty also includes, but is not limited to, providing false or misleading information to receive a postponement or an extension on a test, quiz, or other assignment, and submission of essentially the same written assignment for two courses without the prior permission of the instructor. By accepting this syllabus, you have agreed to these guidelines and must adhere to them. Scholastic dishonesty damages both the student's learning experience and readiness for the future demands of a work-career. Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University.


Special Needs:  In case you have a physical, perceptual, psychiatric/emotional, medical, or learning disability that may impact your ability to carry out assigned course work, contact the Service for Students with Disability (SSD), Student Services Building 4.104. (Voice 512-471-6259 or 512-471-TTY for users with hard of hearing) at the Office of the Dean of Students.  SSD will review your concerns, confirm your disability, and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary.  All information and documentation of your disability is confidential and will not be released by SSD without your written permission. A letter that documents the disability from the SSD should be presented to the instructor in each course at the beginning of the semester and accommodations needed should be discussed at that time. Five business days before an exam the student should remind the instructor of any testing accommodations that will be needed. Specialized services are available on campus through Services for Students with Disabilities.          


Religious Holy Days Observance Policy


The Texas Education Code specifies that an institution of higher education shall excuse a student from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose.  A student whose absence is excused under this subsection may not be penalized for that absence and shall be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment from which the student is excused within a reasonable time after the absence.


A student who misses classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day should inform the instructor as far in advance of the absence as possible, so that arrangements can be made to complete an assignment within a reasonable time after the absence.


Requirement and suggestion:

  1. Pre-reading the textbook or related readings is helpful for your class. Also, the review of the textbook and/or notes can help you understand the lectures and prepare for quizzes and exams.
  2. Tape recorders are welcome and highly recommended. The material moves quickly and recorded lessons allow for checking and correcting notes.
  3. Please TURN OFF the cell phone and pager or set them to VIBRATE during the class.
  4. BLACKBOARD will be frequently used for the class, mainly for general course information, class notes, discussion, communication and etc.
  5. Pay attention to figures and pictures in the book and readings, which are usually helpful to understand the texts.
  6. Come to the office hours or make an appointment with me or TA if you have any question on the course.
  7. If you have any difficulty or concern for the course, come to talk with me AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!





Tentative Course Schedule: NOTE – This schedule is tentative and may be changed during the semester.




Reading schedule

Jan. 18

Overview of the course and review of acoustics


Jan. 23

Jan. 25

Review of auditory physiology

Psychophysical methods (I)and Lab 1

Chapt. 1


Jan. 30

Feb. 1

Psychophysical methods (I)

Audibility & Masking and Auditory critical band  (I)

Chapt .2 and 3


Feb. 6

Feb. 8

Audibility & Masking and Auditory critical band  (II)

Masking and auditory critical band (III) & Lab 2

Chapt. 3


Feb. 13

Feb. 15

Lab 1 report DUE; Loudness (I)

Loudness (II)

Chapt. 4


Feb. 20

Feb. 22

Loudness (III)

Pitch perception (I) & Lab 3

Chapt. 4


Feb. 27

Feb. 29

Lab 2 report DUE; Pitch perception (II)

Pitch perception (III)

Chapt. 6

Mar. 5

Mar. 7

Review of the Section I


Chapt. 6


Mar. 12

Mar. 14

Spring Break


Mar. 19

Mar. 21

Temporal processing (I)

Lab 3 report DUE; Temporal processing (II) & Lab 4

Chapt. 8 and Supplemental readings

Mar. 26

Mar. 28

Spectral shape perception (I); 

Spectral shape perception (II) & Lab 5


Apr. 2

Apr. 4

Lab 4 report DUE; Speech perception and psychoacoustics (I)

Speech perception and psychoacoustics (II)

Chapt. 9 and 10


Apr. 9

Apr. 11

Speech perception and psychoacoustics (III)

Binaural perception (I)

Chapt. 5

Apr. 16

Apr. 18

Lab 5 report DUE; Binaural perception (II);

Psychoacoustic and auditory physiology (I) & Final Lab


Apr. 23

Apr. 25

Psychoacoustic and auditory physiology (II)

Psychoacoustic and auditory physiology (III)


Apr. 30

May 2

Review of the Section II

Exam 2



May 8