[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: AUDITORY Digest - 10 May 2001 (#2001-88)

Chuck Watson wrote:

It is certainly tempting to say that if Al B. is uncertain about "streams"
vs. "groups" the rest of us should avoid the issue.  But that question did
cause me to reflect over the reason for the quick acceptance, some years ago
now, of the concept of "streams", which might have been argued to have been
unnecessary, given the rich vocabulary already established by Gestalt
psychologists.  Perhaps it was already obvious to most of you...but it just
occurred to me that we did need a word to characterize grouping phenomena in
audition, where the temporal dimension dominates.  The Gestalt vocabulary
had been developed primarily with static visual displays in mind, even
though its founders clearly believed that the grouping principles were valid
for all modalities.  "Streams and streaming" nicely capture the temporal
dimension that is the essential property of most auditory grouping
I don't think the last sentence is quite accurate. (I agree with all
the foregoing.) In fact, many auditory grouping phenomena do not
involve streaming at all. Any rhythmic pattern involves grouping by
temporal proximity, but all sounds are perceived as part of a single
stream. Melodies create pitch-based grouping, and unless the pitch
jumps are large and the tempo is fast, all tones are perceived to
come from the same source. Dynamic accents can induce grouping
without inducing any streaming. It seems to me that streaming is a
separate phenomenon that is independent of auditory grouping, or
perhaps it should be considered a special form of grouping, namely


Bruno H. Repp
Research Scientist
Haskins Laboratories
270 Crown Street
New Haven, CT 06511-6695
Tel. (203) 865-6163, ext. 236
FAX (203) 865-8963
e-mail: repp@haskins.yale.edu