Bimodal Interaction: The Role of Visual Information in Performing Acoustic Assessment in Architecture

Aurore Defays1, *, Stéphane Safin2, 3, Alexis Billon4, Christine Decaestecker5, Nadine Warzée5, Pierre Leclercq3, Anne-Sophie Nyssen1
1 Cognitive Ergonomics Laboratory (LECIT), Université de Liège, Belgium
2 Conception, Création, Compétences, Usages (C3U) Team - Lab Paragraphe EA 349 - Université Paris 8, France
3 Laboratory for User Cognition and Innovative Design (LUCID), Université de Liège, Belgium
4 Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Ingénieur pour l’Environnement (LaSIE), University of La Rochelle, 17042 La Rochelle Cedex 1, France
5 Laboratory of Image Synthesis and Analysis (LISA), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium

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Defays et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Cognitive Ergonomics Laboratory (LECIT), Université de Liège, Belgium; Tel: 00 32 4 366 46 65; Fax: 00 32 4 366 29 44; E-mail:


In the framework of the design process of a multimodal 3D simulation environment to support architects’ acoustic tasks, we wanted to gain a better understanding of how architects are able to discriminate the sounds using audio and/or visual inputs. This study explores how 2D pictures of rooms do support or impede the auditory evaluation of a space (specifically reverberation). The paper describes an experiment evaluating participants rankings of perceived acoustic reverberation when presented with congruent (coherent) or non-congruent (conflicting) evocative pictures of architectural spaces. We found that the congruent pictures had a positive impact on task performance while the noncongruent pictures had no significant effect. Moreover the effect of the expertise (professional background) of participants was investigated. We found differences between architects and non-architects in the way they performed the task, and they processed reverberation assessments. Taken together, the findings of this study contribute to the question of usefulness of expensive multimodal 3D simulation environment.

Keywords: Audio-visual interaction, acoustics task, architecture expertise, influence of vision.