Auditory Lab at CMU

Welcome to the Auditory Lab at CMU!

Director: Laurie M. Heller, Ph.D.

Our research examines the human ability to use sound to understand events happening in the environment. Our perceptual experiments discover acoustic cues that reveal attributes of sound events, and how our knowledge of these cue-attribute relationships influences our recognition of sounds. We have also examined how this knowledge influences which brain regions are recruited during the perception of sound events. Our multimodal experiments have combined hearing and vision as well as asking whether sound affects the gestures we make. Our research on sound localization included teaching naive listeners to learn to extract information from echoes about the surrounding environment. Ongoing work involves the perception of sound categories and the effects of unwanted sounds. Collaborative applications are being developed to test sound recognition in hearing-impaired listeners and to improve the performance of a machine learning system for sound event classification. Applications of this research have the potential to enhance auditory displays, hearing aids, and navigation aids for the visually impaired.

Sound Events Database is here.

2023 Special Sessions co-chaired by Prof. Heller:

Environmental sounds: Perception, Cognition, Applications. May 2023. 184th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America

Synergy between human and machine approaches to sound/scene recognition and processing. June 2023. IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP).

2023 Foley Sound Synthesis Challenge co-organizer:

Detection and Classification of Acoustic Scenes and Events (DCASE). Mar-July 2023 Our paper on this session was presented at DCASE Workshop in September, 2023.




Phone: (412) 268-8669



Laurie Heller's Faculty page, CMU Psychology

Interested in participating in paid research experiments?

Interested in conducting research?

Click here for a list of current opportunities!