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The role of temporal coherence and temporal predictability in the build-up of auditory grouping

Sollini, Joseph; Poole, Katarina C.; Blauth-Muszkowski, Dominic; Bizley, Jennifer K.

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Katarina C. Poole

Dominic Blauth-Muszkowski

Jennifer K. Bizley


The cochlea decomposes sounds into separate frequency channels, from which the auditory brain must reconstruct the auditory scene. To do this the auditory system must make decisions about which frequency information should be grouped together, and which should remain distinct. Two key cues for grouping are temporal coherence, resulting from coherent changes in power across frequency, and temporal predictability, resulting from regular or predictable changes over time. To test how these cues contribute to the construction of a sound scene we present listeners with a range of precursor sounds, which act to prime the auditory system by providing information about each sounds structure, followed by a fixed masker in which participants were required to detect the presence of an embedded tone. By manipulating temporal coherence and/or temporal predictability in the precursor we assess how prior sound exposure influences subsequent auditory grouping. In Experiment 1, we measure the contribution of temporal predictability by presenting temporally regular or jittered precursors, and temporal coherence by using either narrow or broadband sounds, demonstrating that both independently contribute to masking/unmasking. In Experiment 2, we measure the relative impact of temporal coherence and temporal predictability and ask whether the influence of each in the precursor signifies an enhancement or interference of unmasking. We observed that interfering precursors produced the largest changes to thresholds.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 25, 2022
Publication Date Aug 25, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 16, 2022
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Article Number 14493
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit


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