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Are auditory percepts determined by experience?

Monson BB, Han S, Purves D - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: In this framework, basic auditory qualities (e.g., loudness and pitch) are based on the frequency of occurrence of stimulus patterns in natural acoustic stimuli.The frequency of occurrence of acoustic patterns in a database of natural sound stimuli (speech) predicts some qualitative aspects of these functions, but with substantial quantitative discrepancies.This approach may offer a rationale for auditory phenomena that are difficult to explain in terms of the physical attributes of the stimuli as such.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Program, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore. brian.monson@duke-nus.edu.sg

ABSTRACT
Audition--what listeners hear--is generally studied in terms of the physical properties of sound stimuli and physiological properties of the auditory system. Based on recent work in vision, we here consider an alternative perspective that sensory percepts are based on past experience. In this framework, basic auditory qualities (e.g., loudness and pitch) are based on the frequency of occurrence of stimulus patterns in natural acoustic stimuli. To explore this concept of audition, we examined five well-documented psychophysical functions. The frequency of occurrence of acoustic patterns in a database of natural sound stimuli (speech) predicts some qualitative aspects of these functions, but with substantial quantitative discrepancies. This approach may offer a rationale for auditory phenomena that are difficult to explain in terms of the physical attributes of the stimuli as such.

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Qualitative comparison of pure tone pitch judgments with empirical predictions.(A) Judgments of pitch magnitude elicited by sine tones of increasing frequency, redrawn from Miskiewicz and Rakowski [23]. (B) The PDF of harmonic tones, obtained by taking integer multiples of fundamental frequencies in the database. (C) The CDF for harmonic tones in speech. As in (A), the CDF shows a distinct change in slope at ∼200 Hz.
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pone-0063728-g003: Qualitative comparison of pure tone pitch judgments with empirical predictions.(A) Judgments of pitch magnitude elicited by sine tones of increasing frequency, redrawn from Miskiewicz and Rakowski [23]. (B) The PDF of harmonic tones, obtained by taking integer multiples of fundamental frequencies in the database. (C) The CDF for harmonic tones in speech. As in (A), the CDF shows a distinct change in slope at ∼200 Hz.

Mentions: The published psychophysical data for loudness are often reported as a function of level above threshold. The CDFs were therefore plotted over comparable ranges based on published thresholds for the given stimulus (see Figures 1C, 2C, 3C, 4B and 5B). Absolute intensity depends on distance; the speech in the database was recorded at 60 cm, which is a normal speaker distance.


Are auditory percepts determined by experience?

Monson BB, Han S, Purves D - PLoS ONE (2013)

Qualitative comparison of pure tone pitch judgments with empirical predictions.(A) Judgments of pitch magnitude elicited by sine tones of increasing frequency, redrawn from Miskiewicz and Rakowski [23]. (B) The PDF of harmonic tones, obtained by taking integer multiples of fundamental frequencies in the database. (C) The CDF for harmonic tones in speech. As in (A), the CDF shows a distinct change in slope at ∼200 Hz.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3646789&req=5

pone-0063728-g003: Qualitative comparison of pure tone pitch judgments with empirical predictions.(A) Judgments of pitch magnitude elicited by sine tones of increasing frequency, redrawn from Miskiewicz and Rakowski [23]. (B) The PDF of harmonic tones, obtained by taking integer multiples of fundamental frequencies in the database. (C) The CDF for harmonic tones in speech. As in (A), the CDF shows a distinct change in slope at ∼200 Hz.
Mentions: The published psychophysical data for loudness are often reported as a function of level above threshold. The CDFs were therefore plotted over comparable ranges based on published thresholds for the given stimulus (see Figures 1C, 2C, 3C, 4B and 5B). Absolute intensity depends on distance; the speech in the database was recorded at 60 cm, which is a normal speaker distance.

Bottom Line: In this framework, basic auditory qualities (e.g., loudness and pitch) are based on the frequency of occurrence of stimulus patterns in natural acoustic stimuli.The frequency of occurrence of acoustic patterns in a database of natural sound stimuli (speech) predicts some qualitative aspects of these functions, but with substantial quantitative discrepancies.This approach may offer a rationale for auditory phenomena that are difficult to explain in terms of the physical attributes of the stimuli as such.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Program, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore. brian.monson@duke-nus.edu.sg

ABSTRACT
Audition--what listeners hear--is generally studied in terms of the physical properties of sound stimuli and physiological properties of the auditory system. Based on recent work in vision, we here consider an alternative perspective that sensory percepts are based on past experience. In this framework, basic auditory qualities (e.g., loudness and pitch) are based on the frequency of occurrence of stimulus patterns in natural acoustic stimuli. To explore this concept of audition, we examined five well-documented psychophysical functions. The frequency of occurrence of acoustic patterns in a database of natural sound stimuli (speech) predicts some qualitative aspects of these functions, but with substantial quantitative discrepancies. This approach may offer a rationale for auditory phenomena that are difficult to explain in terms of the physical attributes of the stimuli as such.

Show MeSH