The brain organizes sound into coherent sequences, termed auditory streams. We asked whether task-irrelevant sounds would be detected as separate auditory streams in a natural listening environment that included three simultaneously active sound sources. Participants watched a movie with sound while street-noise and sequences of naturally varying footstep sounds were presented in the background. Occasional deviations in the footstep sequences elicited the mismatch negativity (MMN) event-related potential. The elicitation of MMN showed that the regular features of the footstep sequences had been registered and their violations detected, which could only occur if the footstep sequence had been detected as a separate auditory stream. Our results demonstrate that sounds are organized into auditory streams irrespective of their relevance to ongoing behavior.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 14 2003|
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