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Sounds in our environment like voices, animal calls or musical instruments are easily recognized by human listeners. Understanding the key features underlying this robust sound recognition is an important question in auditory science. Here, we studied the recognition by human listeners of new classes of sounds: acoustic and auditory sketches, sounds that are severely impoverished but still recognizable. Starting from a time-frequency representation, a sketch is obtained by keeping only sparse elements of the original signal, here, by means of a simple peak-picking algorithm. Two time-frequency representations were compared: a biologically grounded one, the auditory spectrogram, which simulates peripheral auditory filtering, and a simple acoustic spectrogram, based on a Fourier transform. Three degrees of sparsity were also investigated. Listeners were asked to recognize the category to which a sketch sound belongs: singing voices, bird calls, musical instruments, and vehicle engine noises. Results showed that, with the exception of voice sounds, very sparse representations of sounds 10 features, or energy peaks, per second could be recognized above chance. No clear differences could be observed between the acoustic and the auditory sketches. For the voice sounds, however, a completely different pattern of results emerged, with at-chance or even below-chance recognition performances, suggesting that the important features of the voice, whatever they are, were removed by the sketch process. Overall, these perceptual results were well correlated with a model of auditory distances, based on spectro-temporal excitation patterns STEPs. This study confirms the potential of these new classes of sounds, acoustic and auditory sketches, to study sound recognition.



Autor: Vincent Isnard , Marine Taffou, Isabelle Viaud-Delmon, Clara Suied

Fuente: http://plos.srce.hr/



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