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Concurrent sound segregation based on inharmonicity and onset asynchrony

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JournalNeuropsychologia
DatePublished - Apr 2010
Issue number5
Volume48
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1417-1425
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

To explore the neural processes underlying concurrent sound segregation, auditory evoked fields (AEFs) were measured using magnetoencephalography (MEG). To induce the segregation of two auditory objects we manipulated harmonicity and onset synchrony. Participants were presented with complex sounds with (i) all harmonics in-tune (ii) the third harmonic mistuned by 8% of its original value (iii) the onset of the third harmonic delayed by 160 ms compared to the other harmonics. During recording, participants listened to the sounds and performed an auditory localisation task whereas in another session they ignored the sounds and performed a visual localisation task. Active and passive listening was chosen to evaluate the contribution of attention on sound segregation. Both cues - inharmonicity and onset asynchrony - elicited sound segregation, as participants were more likely to report correctly on which side they heard the third harmonic when it was mistuned or delayed compared to being in-tune with all other harmonics. AEF activity associated with concurrent sound segregation was identified over both temporal lobes. We found an early deflection at similar to 75 ms (P75m) after sound onset, probably reflecting an automatic registration of the mistuned harmonic. Subsequent deflections, the object-related negativity (ORNm) and a later displacement (P230m) seem to be more general markers of concurrent sound segregation, as they were elicited by both mistuning and delaying the third harmonic. Results indicate that the ORNm reflects relatively automatic, bottom-up sound segregation processes, whereas the P230m is more sensitive to attention, especially with inharmonicity as the cue for concurrent sound segregation. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Auditory perception, Magnetoencephalography (MEG), Object-related negativity (ORN), Auditory evoked field (AEF), AUDITORY SCENE ANALYSIS, BRAIN POTENTIALS, HEARING, PERCEPTION, OBJECTS

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