Bottom-up and top-down influences on auditory scene analysis: evidence from event-related brain potentials

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2001 Oct;27(5):1072-89. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.27.5.1072.


The physiological processes underlying the segregation of concurrent sounds were investigated through the use of event-related brain potentials. The stimuli were complex sounds containing multiple harmonics, one of which could be mistuned so that it was no longer an integer multiple of the fundamental. Perception of concurrent auditory objects increased with degree of mistuning and was accompanied by negative and positive waves that peaked at 180 and 400 ms poststimulus, respectively. The negative wave, referred to as object-related negativity, was present during passive listening, but the positive wave was not. These findings indicate bottom-up and top-down influences during auditory scene analysis. Brain electrical source analyses showed that distinguishing simultaneous auditory objects involved a widely distributed neural network that included auditory cortices, the medial temporal lobe, and posterior association cortices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / methods
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Time Factors