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Open Access Publications from the University of California

On the dichotomy in auditory perception between temporal envelope and fine structure cues (L)

  • Author(s): Zeng, F G
  • Nie, K B
  • Liu, S
  • Stickney, G
  • Del Rio, E
  • Kong, Y Y
  • Chen, H B
  • et al.

It is important to know what cues the sensory system extracts from natural stimuli and how the brain uses them to form perception. To explore this issue, Smith, Delgutte, and Oxenham [Nature (London) 416, 87-90 (2002)] mixed one sound's temporal envelope with another sound's fine temporal structure to produce auditory chimaeras and found that "the perceptual importance of the envelope increases with the number of frequency bands, while that of the fine structure diminishes." This study addressed two technical issues related to natural cochlear filtering and artificial filter ringing in the chimaerizing algorithm. In addition, this study found that the dichotomy in auditory perception revealed by auditory chimaeras is an epiphenomenon of the classic dichotomy between low- and high-frequency processing. Finally, this study found that the temporal envelope determines sound location as long as the interaural level difference cue is present. The present result reinforces the original hypothesis that the temporal envelope is critical for speech perception whereas temporal fine structure is critical for pitch perception, but does not support the assertion regarding the temporal envelope and fine structure as the acoustic basis for the "what" and "where" mechanisms. (C) 2004 Acoustical Society of America.

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