Build-up of auditory stream segregation induced by tone sequences of constant or alternating frequency and the resetting effects of single deviants

Nicholas R. Haywood, Brian Roberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


Three experiments investigated the dynamics of auditory stream segregation. Experiment 1 used a 2.0-s constant-frequency inducer (10 repetitions of a low-frequency pure tone) to promote segregation in a subsequent, 1.2-s test sequence of alternating low- and high-frequency tones. Replacing the final inducer tone with silence reduced reported test-sequence segregation substantially. This reduction did not occur when either the 4th or 7th inducer was replaced with silence. This suggests that a change at the induction/test-sequence boundary actively resets buildup, rather than less segregation occurring simply because fewer inducer tones were presented. Furthermore, Experiment 2 found that a constant-frequency inducer produced its maximum segregation-promoting effect after only 3 tone cycles - this contrasts with the more gradual build-up typically observed for alternating sequences. Experiment 3 required listeners to judge continuously the grouping of 20-s test sequences. Constant-frequency inducers were considerably more effective at promoting segregation than alternating ones; this difference persisted for ∼10 s. In addition, resetting arising from a single deviant (longer tone) was associated only with constant-frequency inducers. Overall, the results suggest that constant-frequency inducers promote segregation by capturing one subset of test-sequence tones into an on-going, pre-established stream and that a deviant tone may reduce segregation by disrupting this capture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Congress on Acoustics 2013 Montreal (ICA 2013)
Subtitle of host publicationPsychological and Physiological Acoustics
Place of PublicationMontreal, QC
PublisherAcoustical Society of America
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 2 Jun 20137 Jun 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
PublisherAcoustical Society of America
ISSN (Electronic)1939-800X


ConferenceInternational Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013


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