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Prior context in audition informs binding and shapes simple features

Chambers, C; Akram, S; Adam, V; Pelofi, C; Sahani, M; Shamma, S; Pressnitzer, D; (2017) Prior context in audition informs binding and shapes simple features. Nature Communications , 8 , Article 15027. 10.1038/ncomms15027. Green open access

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Abstract

A perceptual phenomenon is reported, whereby prior acoustic context has a large, rapid and long-lasting effect on a basic auditory judgement. Pairs of tones were devised to include ambiguous transitions between frequency components, such that listeners were equally likely to report an upward or downward ‘pitch’ shift between tones. We show that presenting context tones before the ambiguous pair almost fully determines the perceived direction of shift. The context effect generalizes to a wide range of temporal and spectral scales, encompassing the characteristics of most realistic auditory scenes. Magnetoencephalographic recordings show that a relative reduction in neural responsivity is correlated to the behavioural effect. Finally, a computational model reproduces behavioural results, by implementing a simple constraint of continuity for binding successive sounds in a probabilistic manner. Contextual processing, mediated by ubiquitous neural mechanisms such as adaptation, may be crucial to track complex sound sources over time.

Type: Article
Title: Prior context in audition informs binding and shapes simple features
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15027
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15027
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, RELIABLE SPECTRAL PROPERTIES, SPEECH-PERCEPTION, AUDITORY-CORTEX, TRITONE PARADOX, MODULATED TONES, ADAPTATION, CONTRAST, PITCH, NEURONS, SOUNDS
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Gatsby Computational Neurosci Unit
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1555113
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