Are auditory percepts determined by experience?

Published online

Journal Article

Audition--what listeners hear--is generally studied in terms of the physical properties of sound stimuli and physiological properties of the auditory system. Based on recent work in vision, we here consider an alternative perspective that sensory percepts are based on past experience. In this framework, basic auditory qualities (e.g., loudness and pitch) are based on the frequency of occurrence of stimulus patterns in natural acoustic stimuli. To explore this concept of audition, we examined five well-documented psychophysical functions. The frequency of occurrence of acoustic patterns in a database of natural sound stimuli (speech) predicts some qualitative aspects of these functions, but with substantial quantitative discrepancies. This approach may offer a rationale for auditory phenomena that are difficult to explain in terms of the physical attributes of the stimuli as such.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Monson, BB; Han, S; Purves, D

Published Date

  • 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 5

Start / End Page

  • e63728 -

PubMed ID

  • 23667666

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0063728

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States