Object-related brain potentials associated with the perceptual segregation of a dichotically embedded pitch

Michael J. Hautus*, Blake W. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


The cortical mechanisms of perceptual segregation of concurrent sound sources were examined, based on binaural detection of interaural timing differences. Auditory event-related potentials were measured from 11 healthy subjects. Binaural stimuli were created by introducing a dichotic delay of 500-ms duration to a narrow frequency region within a broadband noise, and resulted in a perception of a centrally located noise and a right-lateralized pitch (dichotic pitch). In separate listening conditions, subjects actively discriminated and responded to randomly interleaved binaural and control stimuli, or ignored random stimuli while watching silent cartoons. In a third listening condition subjects ignored stimuli presented in homogenous blocks. For all listening conditions, the dichotic pitch stimulus elicited an object-related negativity (ORN) at a latency of about 150-250 ms after stimulus onset. When subjects were required to actively respond to stimuli, the ORN was followed by a P400 wave with a latency of about 320-420 ms. These results support and extend a two-stage model of auditory scene analysis in which acoustic streams are automatically parsed into component sound sources based on source-relevant cues, followed by a controlled process involving identification and generation of a behavioral response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


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