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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 the rate of growth in loudness as a function of frequency with empirical predictions.(A) Equal loudness contours for 20, 40, and 60 dB SPL at 1 kHz, calculated from the ISO standard [18]. The rate of loudness growth (arrows) is greater for low and very high frequencies than for middle frequencies. (B) The CDFs for SPLs of individual harmonic tones, derived from the database for standard octave frequencies. The slopes of the CDFs decrease as frequency increases to ∼4 kHz, and then increase again at higher frequencies. Dotted lines indicate the percentile ranks for 20, 40 and 60 dB on the 1-kHz tone CDF. (C) Empirically predicted “equal percentile rank” contours taken from CDFs in (B). Contours were plotted as the SPL values from the CDFs (obtained for standard 1/3–octave frequencies) that had the same percentile rank as 20, 40, and 60 dB on the 1-kHz CDF. The rate of loudness growth as a function of frequency is similar to that in (A).
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pone-0063728-g004: Qualitative comparison of the rate of growth in loudness as a function of frequency with empirical predictions.(A) Equal loudness contours for 20, 40, and 60 dB SPL at 1 kHz, calculated from the ISO standard [18]. The rate of loudness growth (arrows) is greater for low and very high frequencies than for middle frequencies. (B) The CDFs for SPLs of individual harmonic tones, derived from the database for standard octave frequencies. The slopes of the CDFs decrease as frequency increases to ∼4 kHz, and then increase again at higher frequencies. Dotted lines indicate the percentile ranks for 20, 40 and 60 dB on the 1-kHz tone CDF. (C) Empirically predicted “equal percentile rank” contours taken from CDFs in (B). Contours were plotted as the SPL values from the CDFs (obtained for standard 1/3–octave frequencies) that had the same percentile rank as 20, 40, and 60 dB on the 1-kHz CDF. The rate of loudness growth as a function of frequency is similar to that in (A).

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 the rate of growth in loudness as a function of frequency with empirical predictions.(A) Equal loudness contours for 20, 40, and 60 dB SPL at 1 kHz, calculated from the ISO standard [18]. The rate of loudness growth (arrows) is greater for low and very high frequencies than for middle frequencies. (B) The CDFs for SPLs of individual harmonic tones, derived from the database for standard octave frequencies. The slopes of the CDFs decrease as frequency increases to ∼4 kHz, and then increase again at higher frequencies. Dotted lines indicate the percentile ranks for 20, 40 and 60 dB on the 1-kHz tone CDF. (C) Empirically predicted “equal percentile rank” contours taken from CDFs in (B). Contours were plotted as the SPL values from the CDFs (obtained for standard 1/3–octave frequencies) that had the same percentile rank as 20, 40, and 60 dB on the 1-kHz CDF. The rate of loudness growth as a function of frequency is similar to that in (A).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0063728-g004: Qualitative comparison of the rate of growth in loudness as a function of frequency with empirical predictions.(A) Equal loudness contours for 20, 40, and 60 dB SPL at 1 kHz, calculated from the ISO standard [18]. The rate of loudness growth (arrows) is greater for low and very high frequencies than for middle frequencies. (B) The CDFs for SPLs of individual harmonic tones, derived from the database for standard octave frequencies. The slopes of the CDFs decrease as frequency increases to ∼4 kHz, and then increase again at higher frequencies. Dotted lines indicate the percentile ranks for 20, 40 and 60 dB on the 1-kHz tone CDF. (C) Empirically predicted “equal percentile rank” contours taken from CDFs in (B). Contours were plotted as the SPL values from the CDFs (obtained for standard 1/3–octave frequencies) that had the same percentile rank as 20, 40, and 60 dB on the 1-kHz CDF. The rate of loudness growth as a function of frequency is similar to that in (A).
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