Auditory scenes often contain concurrent sound sources, but listeners are typically interested in just one of these, and must somehow select it for further processing. This problem of hearing one source among many (the ‘cocktail party problem’) is particularly challenging when competing sources are similar and vary over time. I will discuss evidence for two mechanisms in auditory cognition that may aid us in such situations. One is an auditory version of attentive tracking, in which a moving locus of attention might distinguish a target source from others, even as it changes over time. Another is rapid schema learning, in which acquired knowledge of recurring sources facilitates scene analysis. Our ability to hear one source among many may thus be supported by fast and flexible forms of attention and memory--processes which could underlie individual variability in cocktail-party ability and age-related decline.
UPCOMING COG LUNCH TALKS
- 4/18/17 Wiktor Mlynarski, McDermott Lab
- 4/11/17 Devika Narain, Jazayeri Lab
- 4/25/17 Kelsey Allen, Tenenbaum Lab
- 5/2/17 Josh Rule, Tenenbaum Lab
- 5/9/17 Julia Leonard, Schulz/Gabrieli Labs
- 5/16/17 Max Kleiman-Weiner, Tenenbaum Lab