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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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Pleasantness ratings plotted against Neural Pitch Salience (NPS) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, left panel), saxophone recordings (Sax, middle panel) and voice recordings (Voice, right panel).The three intervals are color-coded: Unison: blue; m2: green; P5: red. Correlation coefficient and p value for the correlation are reported in each panel.
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pone.0145439.g003: Pleasantness ratings plotted against Neural Pitch Salience (NPS) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, left panel), saxophone recordings (Sax, middle panel) and voice recordings (Voice, right panel).The three intervals are color-coded: Unison: blue; m2: green; P5: red. Correlation coefficient and p value for the correlation are reported in each panel.

Mentions: Fig 3 shows each individual’s behavioral ratings plotted against their FFR NPS for each type of interval. For sCT, pleasantness ratings strongly correlated with the neural pitch salience (Fig 3) [r = 0.34, p = 0.03], consistent with the notion that stronger neural harmonicity is related to consonance percepts [8]. For the natural sounds, however, behavioral ratings were not correlated with neural measures for either the Sax (r = 0.24, p = 0.13) nor Voice (r = -0.10, p = 0.54) timbres.


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)

Pleasantness ratings plotted against Neural Pitch Salience (NPS) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, left panel), saxophone recordings (Sax, middle panel) and voice recordings (Voice, right panel).The three intervals are color-coded: Unison: blue; m2: green; P5: red. Correlation coefficient and p value for the correlation are reported in each panel.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0145439.g003: Pleasantness ratings plotted against Neural Pitch Salience (NPS) for synthetic complex tones (sCT, left panel), saxophone recordings (Sax, middle panel) and voice recordings (Voice, right panel).The three intervals are color-coded: Unison: blue; m2: green; P5: red. Correlation coefficient and p value for the correlation are reported in each panel.
Mentions: Fig 3 shows each individual’s behavioral ratings plotted against their FFR NPS for each type of interval. For sCT, pleasantness ratings strongly correlated with the neural pitch salience (Fig 3) [r = 0.34, p = 0.03], consistent with the notion that stronger neural harmonicity is related to consonance percepts [8]. For the natural sounds, however, behavioral ratings were not correlated with neural measures for either the Sax (r = 0.24, p = 0.13) nor Voice (r = -0.10, p = 0.54) timbres.

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