Processing simultaneous auditory objects: Infants' ability to detect mistuning in harmonic complexes

Nicole A. Folland, Blake E. Butler, Nicholas A. Smith, Laurel J. Trainor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability to separate simultaneous auditory objects is crucial to infant auditory development. Music in particular relies on the ability to separate musical notes, chords, and melodic lines. Little research addresses how infants process simultaneous sounds. The present study used a conditioned head-turn procedure to examine whether 6-month-old infants are able to discriminate a complex tone (240 Hz, 500 ms, six harmonics in random phase with a 6 dB roll-off per octave) from a version with the third harmonic mistuned. Adults perceive such stimuli as containing two auditory objects, one with the pitch of the mistuned harmonic and the other with pitch corresponding to the fundamental of the complex tone. Adult thresholds were between 1 and 2 mistuning. Infants performed above chance levels for 8, 6, and 4 mistunings, with no significant difference between conditions. However, performance was not significantly different from chance for 2 mistuning and significantly worse for 2 compared to all larger mistunings. These results indicate that 6-month-old infants are sensitive to violations of harmonic structure and suggest that they are able to separate two simultaneously sounding objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-997
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume131
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Fingerprint

harmonics
music
octaves
sounding
stimuli
thresholds
acoustics
Harmonics
Hearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

Cite this

Processing simultaneous auditory objects : Infants' ability to detect mistuning in harmonic complexes. / Folland, Nicole A.; Butler, Blake E.; Smith, Nicholas A.; Trainor, Laurel J.

In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 131, No. 1, 01.01.2012, p. 993-997.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Folland, Nicole A. ; Butler, Blake E. ; Smith, Nicholas A. ; Trainor, Laurel J. / Processing simultaneous auditory objects : Infants' ability to detect mistuning in harmonic complexes. In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2012 ; Vol. 131, No. 1. pp. 993-997.
@article{0839f694f5874cda86fc280349b152bd,
title = "Processing simultaneous auditory objects: Infants' ability to detect mistuning in harmonic complexes",
abstract = "The ability to separate simultaneous auditory objects is crucial to infant auditory development. Music in particular relies on the ability to separate musical notes, chords, and melodic lines. Little research addresses how infants process simultaneous sounds. The present study used a conditioned head-turn procedure to examine whether 6-month-old infants are able to discriminate a complex tone (240 Hz, 500 ms, six harmonics in random phase with a 6 dB roll-off per octave) from a version with the third harmonic mistuned. Adults perceive such stimuli as containing two auditory objects, one with the pitch of the mistuned harmonic and the other with pitch corresponding to the fundamental of the complex tone. Adult thresholds were between 1 and 2 mistuning. Infants performed above chance levels for 8, 6, and 4 mistunings, with no significant difference between conditions. However, performance was not significantly different from chance for 2 mistuning and significantly worse for 2 compared to all larger mistunings. These results indicate that 6-month-old infants are sensitive to violations of harmonic structure and suggest that they are able to separate two simultaneously sounding objects.",
author = "Folland, {Nicole A.} and Butler, {Blake E.} and Smith, {Nicholas A.} and Trainor, {Laurel J.}",
year = "2012",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1121/1.3651254",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "131",
pages = "993--997",
journal = "Journal of the Acoustical Society of America",
issn = "0001-4966",
publisher = "Acoustical Society of America",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Processing simultaneous auditory objects

T2 - Infants' ability to detect mistuning in harmonic complexes

AU - Folland, Nicole A.

AU - Butler, Blake E.

AU - Smith, Nicholas A.

AU - Trainor, Laurel J.

PY - 2012/1/1

Y1 - 2012/1/1

N2 - The ability to separate simultaneous auditory objects is crucial to infant auditory development. Music in particular relies on the ability to separate musical notes, chords, and melodic lines. Little research addresses how infants process simultaneous sounds. The present study used a conditioned head-turn procedure to examine whether 6-month-old infants are able to discriminate a complex tone (240 Hz, 500 ms, six harmonics in random phase with a 6 dB roll-off per octave) from a version with the third harmonic mistuned. Adults perceive such stimuli as containing two auditory objects, one with the pitch of the mistuned harmonic and the other with pitch corresponding to the fundamental of the complex tone. Adult thresholds were between 1 and 2 mistuning. Infants performed above chance levels for 8, 6, and 4 mistunings, with no significant difference between conditions. However, performance was not significantly different from chance for 2 mistuning and significantly worse for 2 compared to all larger mistunings. These results indicate that 6-month-old infants are sensitive to violations of harmonic structure and suggest that they are able to separate two simultaneously sounding objects.

AB - The ability to separate simultaneous auditory objects is crucial to infant auditory development. Music in particular relies on the ability to separate musical notes, chords, and melodic lines. Little research addresses how infants process simultaneous sounds. The present study used a conditioned head-turn procedure to examine whether 6-month-old infants are able to discriminate a complex tone (240 Hz, 500 ms, six harmonics in random phase with a 6 dB roll-off per octave) from a version with the third harmonic mistuned. Adults perceive such stimuli as containing two auditory objects, one with the pitch of the mistuned harmonic and the other with pitch corresponding to the fundamental of the complex tone. Adult thresholds were between 1 and 2 mistuning. Infants performed above chance levels for 8, 6, and 4 mistunings, with no significant difference between conditions. However, performance was not significantly different from chance for 2 mistuning and significantly worse for 2 compared to all larger mistunings. These results indicate that 6-month-old infants are sensitive to violations of harmonic structure and suggest that they are able to separate two simultaneously sounding objects.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84855953678&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84855953678&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1121/1.3651254

DO - 10.1121/1.3651254

M3 - Article

C2 - 22280722

AN - SCOPUS:84855953678

VL - 131

SP - 993

EP - 997

JO - Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

JF - Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

SN - 0001-4966

IS - 1

ER -