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We live in a richly structured auditory environment. From the sounds of cars charging towards us on the street
to the sounds of music filling a dancehall, sounds like these are generally seen as being instances of things we hear but can
also be understood as opportunities for action. In some circumstances, the sound of a car approaching towards us can provide
critical information for the avoidance of harm. In the context of a concert venue, sociocultural practices like music
can equally afford coordinated activities of movement, such as dancing or music making. Despite how evident the behavioral
effects of sound are in our everyday experience, they have been sparsely accounted for within the field of psychology.
Instead, most theories of auditory perception have been more concerned with understanding how sounds are passively
processed and represented and how they convey information of the world, neglecting than how this information can
be used for anything. Here, we argue against these previous rationalizations, suggesting instead that information is instantiated
through use and, therefore, is an emergent effect of a perceiver’s interaction with their environment. Drawing on
theory from psychology, philosophy and anthropology, we contend that by thinking of sounds as materials, theorists and
researchers alike can get to grips with the vast array of auditory affordances that we purposefully bring into use when interacting
with the environment.