Stable individual characteristics in the perception of multiple embedded patterns in multistable auditory stimuli

Susan Denham, Tamás M. Bõhm, Alexandra Bendixen, Orsolya Szalárdy, Zsuzsanna Kocsis, Robert Mill, I. Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability of the auditory system to parse complex scenes into component objects in order to extract information from the environment is very robust, yet the processing principles underlying this ability are still not well understood. This study was designed to investigate the proposal that the auditory system constructs multiple interpretations of the acoustic scene in parallel, based on the finding that when listening to a long repetitive sequence listeners report switching between different perceptual organizations. Using the "ABA-" auditory streaming paradigm we trained listeners until they could reliably recognize all possible embedded patterns of length four which could in principle be extracted from the sequence, and in a series of test sessions investigated their spontaneous reports of those patterns. With the training allowing them to identify and mark a wider variety of possible patterns, participants spontaneously reported many more patterns than the ones traditionally assumed (Integrated vs. Segregated). Despite receiving consistent training and despite the apparent randomness of perceptual switching, we found individual switching patterns were idiosyncratic; i.e., the perceptual switching patterns of each participant were more similar to their own switching patterns in different sessions than to those of other participants. These individual differences were found to be preserved even between test sessions held a year after the initial experiment. Our results support the idea that the auditory system attempts to extract an exhaustive set of embedded patterns which can be used to generate expectations of future events and which by competing for dominance give rise to (changing) perceptual awareness, with the characteristics of pattern discovery and perceptual competition having a strong idiosyncratic component. Perceptual multistability thus provides a means for characterizing both general mechanisms and individual differences in human perception.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue number8 FEB
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Aptitude
Individuality
Nucleic Acid Repetitive Sequences
Acoustics

Keywords

  • Auditory scene analysis
  • Auditory streaming
  • Individual differences
  • Multistability
  • Perceptual switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Stable individual characteristics in the perception of multiple embedded patterns in multistable auditory stimuli. / Denham, Susan; Bõhm, Tamás M.; Bendixen, Alexandra; Szalárdy, Orsolya; Kocsis, Zsuzsanna; Mill, Robert; Winkler, I.

In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, No. 8 FEB, 25, 2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Denham, Susan ; Bõhm, Tamás M. ; Bendixen, Alexandra ; Szalárdy, Orsolya ; Kocsis, Zsuzsanna ; Mill, Robert ; Winkler, I. / Stable individual characteristics in the perception of multiple embedded patterns in multistable auditory stimuli. In: Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2014 ; No. 8 FEB.
@article{a35c1569b11047138c82fa931080e234,
title = "Stable individual characteristics in the perception of multiple embedded patterns in multistable auditory stimuli",
abstract = "The ability of the auditory system to parse complex scenes into component objects in order to extract information from the environment is very robust, yet the processing principles underlying this ability are still not well understood. This study was designed to investigate the proposal that the auditory system constructs multiple interpretations of the acoustic scene in parallel, based on the finding that when listening to a long repetitive sequence listeners report switching between different perceptual organizations. Using the {"}ABA-{"} auditory streaming paradigm we trained listeners until they could reliably recognize all possible embedded patterns of length four which could in principle be extracted from the sequence, and in a series of test sessions investigated their spontaneous reports of those patterns. With the training allowing them to identify and mark a wider variety of possible patterns, participants spontaneously reported many more patterns than the ones traditionally assumed (Integrated vs. Segregated). Despite receiving consistent training and despite the apparent randomness of perceptual switching, we found individual switching patterns were idiosyncratic; i.e., the perceptual switching patterns of each participant were more similar to their own switching patterns in different sessions than to those of other participants. These individual differences were found to be preserved even between test sessions held a year after the initial experiment. Our results support the idea that the auditory system attempts to extract an exhaustive set of embedded patterns which can be used to generate expectations of future events and which by competing for dominance give rise to (changing) perceptual awareness, with the characteristics of pattern discovery and perceptual competition having a strong idiosyncratic component. Perceptual multistability thus provides a means for characterizing both general mechanisms and individual differences in human perception.",
keywords = "Auditory scene analysis, Auditory streaming, Individual differences, Multistability, Perceptual switching",
author = "Susan Denham and B{\~o}hm, {Tam{\'a}s M.} and Alexandra Bendixen and Orsolya Szal{\'a}rdy and Zsuzsanna Kocsis and Robert Mill and I. Winkler",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.3389/fnins.2014.00025",
language = "English",
journal = "Frontiers in Neuroscience",
issn = "1662-4548",
publisher = "Frontiers Research Foundation",
number = "8 FEB",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Stable individual characteristics in the perception of multiple embedded patterns in multistable auditory stimuli

AU - Denham, Susan

AU - Bõhm, Tamás M.

AU - Bendixen, Alexandra

AU - Szalárdy, Orsolya

AU - Kocsis, Zsuzsanna

AU - Mill, Robert

AU - Winkler, I.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - The ability of the auditory system to parse complex scenes into component objects in order to extract information from the environment is very robust, yet the processing principles underlying this ability are still not well understood. This study was designed to investigate the proposal that the auditory system constructs multiple interpretations of the acoustic scene in parallel, based on the finding that when listening to a long repetitive sequence listeners report switching between different perceptual organizations. Using the "ABA-" auditory streaming paradigm we trained listeners until they could reliably recognize all possible embedded patterns of length four which could in principle be extracted from the sequence, and in a series of test sessions investigated their spontaneous reports of those patterns. With the training allowing them to identify and mark a wider variety of possible patterns, participants spontaneously reported many more patterns than the ones traditionally assumed (Integrated vs. Segregated). Despite receiving consistent training and despite the apparent randomness of perceptual switching, we found individual switching patterns were idiosyncratic; i.e., the perceptual switching patterns of each participant were more similar to their own switching patterns in different sessions than to those of other participants. These individual differences were found to be preserved even between test sessions held a year after the initial experiment. Our results support the idea that the auditory system attempts to extract an exhaustive set of embedded patterns which can be used to generate expectations of future events and which by competing for dominance give rise to (changing) perceptual awareness, with the characteristics of pattern discovery and perceptual competition having a strong idiosyncratic component. Perceptual multistability thus provides a means for characterizing both general mechanisms and individual differences in human perception.

AB - The ability of the auditory system to parse complex scenes into component objects in order to extract information from the environment is very robust, yet the processing principles underlying this ability are still not well understood. This study was designed to investigate the proposal that the auditory system constructs multiple interpretations of the acoustic scene in parallel, based on the finding that when listening to a long repetitive sequence listeners report switching between different perceptual organizations. Using the "ABA-" auditory streaming paradigm we trained listeners until they could reliably recognize all possible embedded patterns of length four which could in principle be extracted from the sequence, and in a series of test sessions investigated their spontaneous reports of those patterns. With the training allowing them to identify and mark a wider variety of possible patterns, participants spontaneously reported many more patterns than the ones traditionally assumed (Integrated vs. Segregated). Despite receiving consistent training and despite the apparent randomness of perceptual switching, we found individual switching patterns were idiosyncratic; i.e., the perceptual switching patterns of each participant were more similar to their own switching patterns in different sessions than to those of other participants. These individual differences were found to be preserved even between test sessions held a year after the initial experiment. Our results support the idea that the auditory system attempts to extract an exhaustive set of embedded patterns which can be used to generate expectations of future events and which by competing for dominance give rise to (changing) perceptual awareness, with the characteristics of pattern discovery and perceptual competition having a strong idiosyncratic component. Perceptual multistability thus provides a means for characterizing both general mechanisms and individual differences in human perception.

KW - Auditory scene analysis

KW - Auditory streaming

KW - Individual differences

KW - Multistability

KW - Perceptual switching

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84898032983&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84898032983&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fnins.2014.00025

DO - 10.3389/fnins.2014.00025

M3 - Article

JO - Frontiers in Neuroscience

JF - Frontiers in Neuroscience

SN - 1662-4548

IS - 8 FEB

M1 - 25

ER -