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Publication Detail
Sensitivity to statistical structure facilitates perceptual analysis of complex auditory scenes
  • Publication Type:
    Working discussion paper
  • Authors:
    Aman L, Picken S, Andreou L-V, Chait M
  • Publication date:
    11/04/2017
  • Status:
    Published
Abstract
The notion that sensitivity to the statistical structure of the environment is pivotal to perception has recently garnered considerable attention. Here we investigated this issue in the context of hearing. Building on previous work (Sohoglu & Chait, 2016b), stimuli were artificial ‘sound-scapes’ populated by multiple (up to 14) simultaneous sources (‘auditory objects’) comprised of tone-pip sequences, each with a distinct frequency and pattern of amplitude modulation. Sequences were either temporally regular or random. We show that listeners’ ability to detect abrupt appearance or disappearance of a source is facilitated when scene sources were characterized by a temporally regular fluctuation pattern. The patterning of the changing source as well as that of the background (non-changing) sources contribute independently to this effect. Remarkably, listeners benefit from regularity even when they are not consciously aware of it. These findings establish that perception of complex acoustic scenes relies on the availability of detailed representations of the regularities automatically extracted from each scene source.
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