The dynamics of auditory stream segregation:effects of sudden changes in frequency, level, or modulation


Three experiments explored the effects of abrupt changes in stimulus properties on streaming dynamics. Listeners monitored 20-s-long low- and high-frequency (LHL–) tone sequences and reported the number of streams heard throughout. Experiments 1 and 2 used pure tones and examined the effects of changing triplet base frequency and level, respectively. Abrupt changes in base frequency (±3–12 semitones) caused significant magnitude-related falls in segregation (resetting), regardless of transition direction, but an asymmetry occurred for changes in level (±12 dB). Rising-level transitions usually decreased segregation significantly, whereas falling-level transitions had little or no effect. Experiment 3 used pure tones (unmodulated) and narrowly spaced (±25 Hz) tone pairs (dyads); the two evoke similar excitation patterns, but dyads are strongly modulated with a distinctive timbre. Dyad-only sequences induced a strongly segregated percept, limiting scope for further build-up. Alternation between groups of pure tones and dyads produced large, asymmetric changes in streaming. Dyad-to-pure transitions caused substantial resetting, but pure-to-dyad transitions sometimes elicited even greater segregation than for the corresponding interval in dyad-only sequences (overshoot). The results indicate that abrupt changes in timbre can strongly affect the likelihood of stream segregation without introducing significant peripheral-channeling cues. These asymmetric effects of transition direction are reminiscent of subtractive adaptation in vision.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Vision, Hearing and Language
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Centre for Vision and Hearing Research
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: © 2021 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Funding Information: This research was by supported Aston University, which funded a Ph.D. studentship for S.R. under the supervision of B.R. We thank Nick Haywood and Brian Moore for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript and Mark Georgeson for drawing our attention to the literature on subtractive adaptation in vision. The experiments reported here correspond to reanalyzed versions of experiments 1, 3, and 4 in the doctoral thesis of S.R. (Rajasingam, 2016).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Auditory system,auditory perception,acoustical properties,timbre,signal processing,Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous),Acoustics and Ultrasonics
Publication ISSN: 1520-8524
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 07:17
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 08:58
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Related URLs: https://asa.sci ... 1121/10.0005049 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-06-02
Accepted Date: 2021-05-03
Authors: Rajasingam, Saima L.
Summers, Robert J.
Roberts, Brian (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-4232-9459)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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