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On the Relevance of Natural Stimuli for the Study of Brainstem Correlates: The Example of Consonance Perception.

Cousineau M, Bidelman GM, Peretz I, Lehmann A - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: It has been repeatedly shown that neural correlates of consonance can be found as early as the auditory brainstem as reflected in the harmonicity of the scalp-recorded frequency-following response (FFR). "Neural Pitch Salience" (NPS) measured from FFRs-essentially a time-domain equivalent of the classic pattern recognition models of pitch-has been found to correlate with behavioral judgments of consonance for synthetic stimuli.We found that NPS correlated with behavioral judgments of consonance and dissonance for synthetic but not for naturalistic sounds.These results suggest that while some form of harmonicity can be computed from the auditory brainstem response, the general percept of consonance and dissonance is not captured by this measure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), Montreal, QC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Some combinations of musical tones sound pleasing to Western listeners, and are termed consonant, while others sound discordant, and are termed dissonant. The perceptual phenomenon of consonance has been traced to the acoustic property of harmonicity. It has been repeatedly shown that neural correlates of consonance can be found as early as the auditory brainstem as reflected in the harmonicity of the scalp-recorded frequency-following response (FFR). "Neural Pitch Salience" (NPS) measured from FFRs-essentially a time-domain equivalent of the classic pattern recognition models of pitch-has been found to correlate with behavioral judgments of consonance for synthetic stimuli. Following the idea that the auditory system has evolved to process behaviorally relevant natural sounds, and in order to test the generalizability of this finding made with synthetic tones, we recorded FFRs for consonant and dissonant intervals composed of synthetic and natural stimuli. We found that NPS correlated with behavioral judgments of consonance and dissonance for synthetic but not for naturalistic sounds. These results suggest that while some form of harmonicity can be computed from the auditory brainstem response, the general percept of consonance and dissonance is not captured by this measure. It might either be represented in the brainstem in a different code (such as place code) or arise at higher levels of the auditory pathway. Our findings further illustrate the importance of using natural sounds, as a complementary tool to fully-controlled synthetic sounds, when probing auditory perception.

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Mean pleasantness ratings for intervals ranging from the unison to the perfect fifth (P5) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, squares), saxophone recordings (Sax, diamonds) and voice recordings (Voice, circles).The three intervals for which FFR were recorded (unison, m2 and P5) are marked in blue, green and red respectively. Error bars represent +/- standard error about the mean.
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pone.0145439.g002: Mean pleasantness ratings for intervals ranging from the unison to the perfect fifth (P5) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, squares), saxophone recordings (Sax, diamonds) and voice recordings (Voice, circles).The three intervals for which FFR were recorded (unison, m2 and P5) are marked in blue, green and red respectively. Error bars represent +/- standard error about the mean.

Mentions: Consistent with previous literature [4], behavioral ratings (Fig 2) demonstrated that consonant intervals were rated higher than dissonant intervals across all stimulus types. A repeated-measures ANOVA on the behavioral ratings revealed significant main effects of type [F(2,26) = 8.13, p < 0.002, η2 = 0.17] and interval [F(7,91) = 14.12, p < 0.0001, η2 = 0.20], as well as a significant interaction between the two factors [F(14,182) = 1.77, p < 0.046, η2 = 0.02]. Paired-sampled t-tests were used to compare the ratings obtained for the consonant and dissonant intervals used in the EEG experiment. These analyses revealed that within each stimulus type, m2 ratings were significantly lower than unison ratings (sCT: p = 0.0005; sax: p = 0.0003; voice: p = 0.13) and P5 ratings (sCT: p = 0.001; sax: p = 0.0002; voice: p<0.0001).


On the Relevance of Natural Stimuli for the Study of Brainstem Correlates: The Example of Consonance Perception.

Cousineau M, Bidelman GM, Peretz I, Lehmann A - PLoS ONE (2015)

Mean pleasantness ratings for intervals ranging from the unison to the perfect fifth (P5) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, squares), saxophone recordings (Sax, diamonds) and voice recordings (Voice, circles).The three intervals for which FFR were recorded (unison, m2 and P5) are marked in blue, green and red respectively. Error bars represent +/- standard error about the mean.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4697839&req=5

pone.0145439.g002: Mean pleasantness ratings for intervals ranging from the unison to the perfect fifth (P5) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, squares), saxophone recordings (Sax, diamonds) and voice recordings (Voice, circles).The three intervals for which FFR were recorded (unison, m2 and P5) are marked in blue, green and red respectively. Error bars represent +/- standard error about the mean.
Mentions: Consistent with previous literature [4], behavioral ratings (Fig 2) demonstrated that consonant intervals were rated higher than dissonant intervals across all stimulus types. A repeated-measures ANOVA on the behavioral ratings revealed significant main effects of type [F(2,26) = 8.13, p < 0.002, η2 = 0.17] and interval [F(7,91) = 14.12, p < 0.0001, η2 = 0.20], as well as a significant interaction between the two factors [F(14,182) = 1.77, p < 0.046, η2 = 0.02]. Paired-sampled t-tests were used to compare the ratings obtained for the consonant and dissonant intervals used in the EEG experiment. These analyses revealed that within each stimulus type, m2 ratings were significantly lower than unison ratings (sCT: p = 0.0005; sax: p = 0.0003; voice: p = 0.13) and P5 ratings (sCT: p = 0.001; sax: p = 0.0002; voice: p<0.0001).

Bottom Line: It has been repeatedly shown that neural correlates of consonance can be found as early as the auditory brainstem as reflected in the harmonicity of the scalp-recorded frequency-following response (FFR). "Neural Pitch Salience" (NPS) measured from FFRs-essentially a time-domain equivalent of the classic pattern recognition models of pitch-has been found to correlate with behavioral judgments of consonance for synthetic stimuli.We found that NPS correlated with behavioral judgments of consonance and dissonance for synthetic but not for naturalistic sounds.These results suggest that while some form of harmonicity can be computed from the auditory brainstem response, the general percept of consonance and dissonance is not captured by this measure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), Montreal, QC, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Some combinations of musical tones sound pleasing to Western listeners, and are termed consonant, while others sound discordant, and are termed dissonant. The perceptual phenomenon of consonance has been traced to the acoustic property of harmonicity. It has been repeatedly shown that neural correlates of consonance can be found as early as the auditory brainstem as reflected in the harmonicity of the scalp-recorded frequency-following response (FFR). "Neural Pitch Salience" (NPS) measured from FFRs-essentially a time-domain equivalent of the classic pattern recognition models of pitch-has been found to correlate with behavioral judgments of consonance for synthetic stimuli. Following the idea that the auditory system has evolved to process behaviorally relevant natural sounds, and in order to test the generalizability of this finding made with synthetic tones, we recorded FFRs for consonant and dissonant intervals composed of synthetic and natural stimuli. We found that NPS correlated with behavioral judgments of consonance and dissonance for synthetic but not for naturalistic sounds. These results suggest that while some form of harmonicity can be computed from the auditory brainstem response, the general percept of consonance and dissonance is not captured by this measure. It might either be represented in the brainstem in a different code (such as place code) or arise at higher levels of the auditory pathway. Our findings further illustrate the importance of using natural sounds, as a complementary tool to fully-controlled synthetic sounds, when probing auditory perception.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus