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Mats Nilsson


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Arbetar vid Psykologiska institutionen
Telefon 08-16 46 05
Besöksadress Frescati hagväg 9A
Rum 205
Postadress Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm


My research interests

  • Psychoacoustics
  • Auditory learning and expertise
  • Effects of environmental sounds on health and well-being
  • Research methods for the behavioral sciences

Publications on Google Scholar

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Five selected open-access publications

Nilsson, M. E., & Schenkman, B. N. (2016). Blind people are more sensitive than sighted people to binaural sound-location cues, particularly inter-aural level differences. Hearing Research, 332, 223-232. Find here

Rådsten-Ekman, M., Lundén, P., & Nilsson, M. E. (2015). Similarity and pleasantness assessments of water-fountain sounds recorded in urban public spaces. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138, 3043–3052. Find here

Wiens, S., Szychowska, M., & Nilsson, M. (2015). Visual task demands and the auditory mismatch negativity: An empirical study and a meta-analysis. PLoS One, 11(1), e0146567-e0146567. Find here

Sand, A., & Nilsson, M. E. (2014). Asymmetric transfer of sound localization learning between indistinguishable interaural cues. Experimental Brain Research, 232(6), 1707-1716. Find here

Alvarsson, J. J., Wiens, S., & Nilsson, M. E. (2010). Stress recovery during exposure to nature sound and environmental noise. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(3), 1036-1046. Find here



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2017. Malina Szychowska (et al.). Neuroscience Letters 640, 37-41

    Auditory change detection has been studied extensively with mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential. Because it is unresolved if the duration MMN depends on sound pressure level (SPL), we studied effects of different SPLs (56, 66, and 76 dB) on the duration MMN. Further, previous research suggests that the MMN is reduced by a concurrent visual task. Because a recent behavioral study found that high visual perceptual load strongly reduced detection sensitivity to irrelevant sounds, we studied if the duration MMN is reduced by load, and if this reduction is stronger at low SPLs. Although a duration MMN was observed for all SPLs, the MMN was apparently not moderated strongly by SPL, perceptual load, or their interaction, because all 95% CIs overlapped zero. In a contrast analysis of the MMN (across loads) between the 56-dB and 76-dB groups, evidence (BF = 0.31) favored the null hypothesis that duration MMN is unaffected by a 20-dB increase in SPL. Similarly, evidence (BF = 0.19) favored the null hypothesis that effects of perceptual load on the duration MMN do not change with a 20-dB increase in SPL. However, evidence (BF = 3.12) favored the alternative hypothesis that the effect of perceptual load in the present study resembled the overall effect in a recent meta-analysis. When the present findings were combined with the meta-analysis, the effect of load (low minus high) was −0.43 μV, 95% CI [−0.64, −0.22] suggesting that the duration MMN decreases with load. These findings provide support for a sensitive monitoring system of the auditory environment.

  • 2016. Mats E. Nilsson, Bo N. Schenkman. Hearing Research 332, 223-232

    Blind people use auditory information to locate sound sources and sound-reflecting objects (echolocation). Sound source localization benefits from the hearing system's ability to suppress distracting sound reflections, whereas echolocation would benefit from “unsuppressing” these reflections. To clarify how these potentially conflicting aspects of spatial hearing interact in blind versus sighted listeners, we measured discrimination thresholds for two binaural location cues: inter-aural level differences (ILDs) and inter-aural time differences (ITDs). The ILDs or ITDs were present in single clicks, in the leading component of click pairs, or in the lagging component of click pairs, exploiting processes related to both sound source localization and echolocation. We tested 23 blind (mean age = 54 y), 23 sighted-age-matched (mean age = 54 y), and 42 sighted-young (mean age = 26 y) listeners. The results suggested greater ILD sensitivity for blind than for sighted listeners. The blind group's superiority was particularly evident for ILD-lag-click discrimination, suggesting not only enhanced ILD sensitivity in general but also increased ability to unsuppress lagging clicks. This may be related to the blind person's experience of localizing reflected sounds, for which ILDs may be more efficient than ITDs. On the ITD-discrimination tasks, the blind listeners performed better than the sighted age-matched listeners, but not better than the sighted young listeners. ITD sensitivity declines with age, and the equal performance of the blind listeners compared to a group of substantially younger listeners is consistent with the notion that blind people's experience may offset age-related decline in ITD sensitivity.

  • 2016. Mikael Andéhn, Fredrik Nordin, Mats E. Nilsson. Journal of Consumer Behaviour 15 (3), 225-238

    The country-of-origin effect is a topic central to the field of international marketing. Country of origin has been found to exert a particularly potent effect on consumer evaluation in situations where there is a strong link between a country and a particular product category. The present study provides further insight into how this particular effect can be understood. Drawing on a novel conceptualization of how country image and product categories interact, this study tested the relative evaluative relevance of product category with respect to estimates of brand equity across a variety of product categories. The findings suggest that facets of a country's image that are more closely related to the evaluation situation exert a greater influence on the evaluation of brands. This result encourages scholars as well as practitioners to re-evaluate which situations might cause the country of origin effect to hold managerial relevance and paves the way for new paths toward a more comprehensive understanding of the effect. 

  • 2016. Stina Cornell Kärnekull (et al.). Frontiers in Psychology 7

    Although evidence is mixed, studies have shown that blind individuals perform better than sighted at specific auditory, tactile, and chemosensory tasks. However, few studies have assessed blind and sighted individuals across different sensory modalities in the same study. We tested early blind (n = 15), late blind (n = 15), and sighted (n = 30) participants with analogous olfactory and auditory tests in absolute threshold, discrimination, identification, episodic recognition, and metacognitive ability. Although the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed no overall effect of blindness and no interaction with modality, follow-up between-group contrasts indicated a blind-over-sighted advantage in auditory episodic recognition, that was most pronounced in early blind individuals. In contrast to the auditory modality, there was no empirical support for compensatory effects in any of the olfactory tasks. There was no conclusive evidence for group differences in metacognitive ability to predict episodic recognition performance. Taken together, the results showed no evidence of an overall superior performance in blind relative sighted individuals across olfactory and auditory functions, although early blind individuals exceled in episodic auditory recognition memory. This observation may be related to an experience-induced increase in auditory attentional capacity.

  • 2016. Bo N. Schenkman, Mats E. Nilsson, Nedelko Grbic. Applied Acoustics 106, 77-86

    This study explored the ability of blind and sighted listeners to detect reflections, echoes, of burst trains or continuous noise. Echo detection was compared by presenting 5 ms bursts, rates from 1 to 64 bursts, with a continuous white noise, all during 500 ms. Sounds were recorded in an ordinary room through an artificial binaural head, the loudspeaker 1 m behind it. The reflecting object was an aluminum disk, diameter 0.5 m, placed at 1 m. The sounds were presented to 12 blind and 26 sighted participants in a laboratory using a 2-Alternative-Forced-Choice methodology. The task was to detect which of two sounds contained an echo. In Experiment 2, 1.5 m distance sounds were presented to the blind only. At 1 m, detection for the blind increased up to 64 bursts/500 ms, but for the sighted up to 32 bursts. At 1.5 m, the peak performance for the blind was at 32 bursts. At the 1 m, but not at the 1.5 m distance, the blind performed best with continuous white noise. The overlap in time of signal and echo at 1 m for 64 bursts was 60%, but at 1.5 m 82%. Avoiding an overlap between emitted bursts and returning echoes seems important for echolocation, indicating that an acoustic gaze, analogous to in echolocating animals, may also exist in humans.

  • 2016. Anders Sand, Mats E. Nilsson. Consciousness and Cognition 44, 29-40

    A difficulty for reports of subliminal priming is demonstrating that participants who actually perceived the prime are not driving the priming effects. There are two conventional methods for testing this. One is to test whether a direct measure of stimulus perception is not significantly above chance on a group level. The other is to use regression to test if an indirect measure of stimulus processing is significantly above zero when the direct measure is at chance. Here we simulated samples in which we assumed that only participants who perceived the primes were primed by it. Conventional analyses applied to these samples had a very large error rate of falsely supporting subliminal priming. Calculating a Bayes factor for the samples very seldom falsely supported subliminal priming. We conclude that conventional tests are not reliable diagnostics of subliminal priming. Instead, we recommend that experimenters calculate a Bayes factor when investigating subliminal priming.

  • 2016. Catherine Sundling (et al.). European Journal of Ageing 13 (1), 75-83

    Older people’s travel behaviour is affected by negative or positive critical incidents in the public transport environment. With the objective of identifying such inci- dents during whole trips and examining how travel beha- viour had changed, we have conducted in-depth interviews with 30 participants aged 65–91 years in the County of Stockholm, Sweden. Out of 469 incidents identified, 77 were reported to have resulted in travel behaviour change, 67 of them in a negative way. Most critical incidents were encountered in the physical environment on-board vehicles and at stations/stops as well as in pricing/ticketing. The findings show that more personal assistance, better driving behaviour, and swift maintenance of elevators and escala- tors are key facilitators that would improve predictability in travelling and enhance vulnerable older travellers’ feeling of security. The results demonstrate the benefit of involving different groups of end users in future planning and design, such that transport systems would meet the various needs of its end users.

  • 2016. Stefan Wiens, Malina Szychowska, Mats E. Nilsson. PLoS ONE 11 (1)

    Because the auditory system is particularly useful in monitoring the environment, previous research has examined whether task-irrelevant, auditory distracters are processed even if subjects focus their attention on visual stimuli. This research suggests that attentionally demanding visual tasks decrease the auditory mismatch negativity (MMN) to simultaneously presented auditory distractors. Because a recent behavioral study found that high visual perceptual load decreased detection sensitivity of simultaneous tones, we used a similar task (n= 28) to determine if high visual perceptual load would reduce the auditory MMN. Results suggested that perceptual load did not decrease the MMN. At face value, these nonsignificant findings may suggest that effects of perceptual load on the MMN are smaller than those of other demanding visual tasks. If so, effect sizes should differ systematically between the present and previous studies. We conducted a selective meta-analysis of published studies in which the MMN was derived from the EEG, the visual task demands were continuous and varied between high and low within the same task, and the task-irrelevant tones were presented in a typical oddball paradigm simultaneously with the visual stimuli. Because the meta-analysis suggested that the present (null) findings did not differ systematically from previous findings, the available evidence was combined. Results of this meta-analysis confirmed that demanding visual tasks reduce the MMN to auditory distracters. However, because the meta-analysis was based on small studies and because of the risk for publication biases, future studies should be preregistered with large samples (n > 150) to provide confirmatory evidence for the results of the present meta-analysis. These future studies should also use control conditions that reduce confounding effects of neural adaptation, and use load manipulations that are defined independently from their effects on the MMN.

Visa alla publikationer av Mats Nilsson vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 18 april 2018

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