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

Dear All,

I am coming into the discussion of streams vs. groupings in the
middle, so hope that I haven't missed a key distinction that will
make my remarks below irrelevant.

In neural models that attempt to explain and simulate data about
auditory streams and groupings, there are shared mechanisms--which
may enhance the possibility of confusion between the two--but they
also seem to operate at distinct brain levels and have their own
specialized form. This is the case if you use the word grouping
primarily to include the concept of chunking, or unitization, say in
the sense of George Miller's Magic Number 7, rather than as an
all-embracing concept for all temporal binding processes.

In particular, auditory streams may arise due to resonant feedback
interactions between two levels of processing that represent spectral
information and pitch information, respectively. Groupings may arise
due to resonant feedback interactions between two levels of
processing that represent working memory items and list chunks,
respectively. These distinct processes also interact.

Steve Grossberg


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

Chuck Watson

-----Original Message-----
From: Automatic digest processor [mailto:LISTSERV@LISTS.MCGILL.CA]
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 11:00 PM
To: Recipients of AUDITORY digests
Subject: AUDITORY Digest - 10 May 2001 (#2001-88)

Date:    Thu, 10 May 2001 22:31:54 -0400
Subject: Re: streams and groups

Hi Tony and List,

I know what a stream is -- a time-varying sound or sequence of
sounds, treated by the auditory system as coming from a single
sound source.  However, I don't know what is meant by a group.
Perhaps the context  in which this term was found would be
informative.  How was it used in the original source?


Albert S. Bregman, Emeritus Professor
Dept of Psychology, McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue
Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1

     Phone:  +1 (514) 398-6103
     Fax: +1 (514) 398-4896
     Phone & Fax: +1 (514) 484-2592

----- Original Message -----
From: A.Watkins <syswatkn@READING.AC.UK>
Sent: 10-May-01 11:08 AM
Subject: streams and groups

 Can anyone help me answer this question from my undergraduate
 or should the answer be more obvious to me than it is (which is

 Hi Tony

 Just going through the grouping and segregation info and
getting a bit
 confused about what the difference is between a stream and a
group. Is
 there one?


 Anthony J Watkins
 Psychology Department, The University of Reading, Reading, RG6
6AL, UK.
 phone: +44 (0)118-987-5123 ext. 7559; fax: +44 (0)118-931-6715
 home page: http://www.rdg.ac.uk/~syswatkn/home.html
 email: syswatkn@reading.ac.uk


End of AUDITORY Digest - 10 May 2001 (#2001-88)