Evaluation of Preview Cues to Enhance Recall of Auditory Sequential Information

Tsz Chun Marco LAU*, Simon Y. W. LI, Alan L. F. LEE, Penelope M. SANDERSON, Robert G. LOEB

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


In previous work, an auditory vital sign display of five patients was developed. Sounds denoting the vital signs of each patient were delivered in order, with a special sound for any patient whose vital signs were all normal. Although the display was effective, accuracy decreased as the number of abnormal patients increased. We wondered whether accuracy would improve with a preview sound indicating the number of patients with abnormal vital signs in the upcoming sequence. A 3 (preview cue type) x 4 (number of abnormal patients) mixed design was adopted. Preview cue type (between-subjects) was either time-compressed speech, an abstract sound containing white noise pulses to indicate the upcoming number of abnormal patients, or no preview cue. The number of abnormal patients (within-subjects) was zero, one, two, or three. Results showed that the preview cue did not improve non-clinician participants’ ability to identify the location in the sequence or the vital signs of patients with abnormal vital signs. Response accuracy dropped as the number of patients with abnormal vital signs increased. Although it did not hurt performance, the current preview cue did not improve performance. Adding a preview cue may improve performance, but not with the current design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-299
Number of pages18
JournalAuditory Perception & Cognition
Issue number3-4
Early online date30 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

We thank Chiu Wing Sum Jenny for assistance in collecting the data for this study. We also thank Harald Waxenegger for software programming in this study.

R. G. Loeb has received $1,000 per year to be on the Masimo Inc. Scientific Advisory Board. P. M. Sanderson is co-inventor of a respiratory sonification (Sanderson and Watson, US Patent 7,070,570).

The work described in this paper was supported by the General Research Fund (Project No.: LU 13601919) from the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong SAR, China.


  • preview cue
  • auditory display
  • patient monitoring
  • multitasking


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