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Sensitivity to temporal structure facilitates perceptual analysis of complex auditory scenes

Aman, L; Picken, S; Andreou, L-V; Chait, M; (2021) Sensitivity to temporal structure facilitates perceptual analysis of complex auditory scenes. Hearing Research , 400 , Article 108111. 10.1016/j.heares.2020.108111. Green open access

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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 and Chait, 2016a; elife), stimuli were artificial 'soundscapes' populated by multiple (up to 14) simultaneous streams ('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 stream is facilitated when scene streams were characterized by a temporally regular fluctuation pattern. The regularity of the changing stream as well as that of the background (non-changing) streams 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 multiple concurrent streams.

Type: Article
Title: Sensitivity to temporal structure facilitates perceptual analysis of complex auditory scenes
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.heares.2020.108111
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heares.2020.108111
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Auditory scene analysis, Change deafness, Change detection, Predictive coding, Temporal regularity, Time perception
UCL classification: UCL
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 Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > The Ear Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118468
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