Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing

Parise C, Knorre K, Ernst MO (2014)
PNAS 111(16): 6104-6108.

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Human perception, cognition, and action are laced with seemingly arbitrary mappings. In particular, sound has a strong spatial connotation: Sounds are high and low, melodies rise and fall, and pitch systematically biases perceived sound elevation. The origins of such mappings are unknown. Are they the result of physiological constraints, do they reflect natural environmental statistics, or are they truly arbitrary? We recorded natural sounds from the environment, analyzed the elevation-dependent filtering of the outer ear, and measured frequency-dependent biases in human sound localization. We find that auditory scene statistics reveals a clear mapping between frequency and elevation. Perhaps more interestingly, this natural statistical mapping is tightly mirrored in both ear-filtering properties and in perceived sound location. This suggests that both sound localization behavior and ear anatomy are fine-tuned to the statistics of natural auditory scenes, likely providing the basis for the spatial connotation of human hearing.
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Parise C, Knorre K, Ernst MO. Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing. PNAS. 2014;111(16):6104-6108.
Parise, C., Knorre, K., & Ernst, M. O. (2014). Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing. PNAS, 111(16), 6104-6108.
Parise, C., Knorre, K., and Ernst, M. O. (2014). Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing. PNAS 111, 6104-6108.
Parise, C., Knorre, K., & Ernst, M.O., 2014. Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing. PNAS, 111(16), p 6104-6108.
C. Parise, K. Knorre, and M.O. Ernst, “Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing”, PNAS, vol. 111, 2014, pp. 6104-6108.
Parise, C., Knorre, K., Ernst, M.O.: Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing. PNAS. 111, 6104-6108 (2014).
Parise, Cesare, Knorre, Katharina, and Ernst, Marc O. “Natural auditory scene statistics shapes human spatial hearing”. PNAS 111.16 (2014): 6104-6108.
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