S. Denham - Auditory scene analysis: a competition between auditory proto-objects?
Many sound sources can only be recognised from the pattern of sounds they emit, and not from the individual sound events that make up their emission sequences. We propose a new model of auditory scene analysis, at the core of which is a process that seeks to discover predictable patterns in the ongoing sound sequence. Representations of predictable fragments are created on the fly, and are maintained, strengthened or weakened on the basis of their predictive success. Auditory perceptual organisation emerges from the competition between these representations (auditory proto-objects). Rather than positing a global interaction between all currently active proto-objects, competition is local and occurs between proto-objects that predict the same event at the same time. The model has been evaluated using the auditory streaming paradigm, and provides an intuitive account for many important phenomena including the emergence of, and switching between, alternative organisations, the influence of stimulus parameters on perceptual dominance, switching rate and perceptual phase durations, and the build-up of auditory streaming.