An introduction to auditory objects, events, figures, images and scenes

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Category:Perception of Communication Sounds

Hommage à René Magritte: An introduction to auditory objects, events, figures, images and scenes

Roy Patterson , Tom Walters

This page presents a discussion of (1) how we should describe sounds as they occur in the world and representations of those sounds as they occur in the head. There is a tendency to use the phrase "auditory object" to refer to anything in the head, and even sounds out in the world. It is argued that we should distinguish "auditory objects" from "auditory images", "auditory figures", "auditory events" and "auditory scenes" and establish what we mean by each of these terms. The discussion below began with a talk presented at the Auditory Objects Meeting organized by Tim Griffiths, Maria Chait and Dave McAlpine [hosted by the Novartis Foundation in London] 1-2 October 2007. The terminology has evolved as this followup page was written.

The talk began with the presenter (RP) saying -

Bonjour mes amis. Aujourd’hui, je veux vous présentez une Hommage à René Magritte et son peinture:

Figure 1: Magritte's painting of a pipe with the famous inscription "This is not a pipe."

Figure 2: A simulation of the auditory images produced by the words in "Ceci n’est pas le mot pipe."

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Figure 3: The speaker's hand holding a real pipe

En Anglais, the pipe in the hand is a pipe (Figure 3). The 'pipe' in Figure 1 is not actually a pipe. It is a painting of a pipe -- a painting by René Magritte which includes the famous inscription intended to prompt discussion about art and illusion. The visual part of the video in Figure 2 is not a visual image of a pipe; it is a video that presents a simulation of the activity that occurs in the auditory system in response to the sounds that correspond to the words on the audio track. The space of auditory perception that appears in the video is referred to as the auditory image (Patterson et al., 1992; Patterson, 1994), and the structures that appear in the image are referred to as auditory figures and/or auditory events (Patterson et al., 1992). The question is whether we might want to call portions of the neural activity simulated in the video auditory objects? In short, is the internal, auditory representation of a word an auditory object? And if so, what are the properties that make it an object as distinct from other auditory perceptions that are not auditory objects?

The purpose of the talk is to

The basic problem is to relate the external world of objects to the internal world of visual and auditory representations of objects. As a starting point, it is assumed that:

There are a wealth of concepts involved in the description of perceptual objects, and the concepts are described by a variety of words. So, the purpose of the talk is to

The topics are:



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