Abstract

Bendixen, A., Denham, S. L., Gyimesi, K., & Winkler, I. (2010). Regular patterns stabilize auditory streams. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128(6), 3658-3666.

Regular patterns stabilize auditory streams

The auditory system continuously parses the acoustic environment into auditory objects, usually representing separate sound sources. Sound sources typically show characteristic emission patterns. These regular temporal sound patterns are possible cues for distinguishing sound sources. The present study was designed to test whether regular patterns are used as cues for source distinction and to specify the role that detecting these regularities may play in the process of auditory stream segregation. Participants were presented with tone sequences, and they were asked to continuously indicate whether they perceived the tones in terms of a single coherent sequence of sounds (integrated) or as two concurrent sound streams (segregated). Unknown to the participant, in some stimulus conditions, regular patterns were present in one or both putative streams. In all stimulus conditions, participants' perception switched back and forth between the two sound organizations. Importantly, regular patterns occurring in either one or both streams prolonged the mean duration of two-stream percepts, whereas the duration of one-stream percepts was unaffected. These results suggest that temporal regularities are utilized in auditory scene analysis. It appears that the role of this cue lies in stabilizing streams once they have been formed on the basis of simpler acoustic cues.



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