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Re: Phoneme versus word recognition.

Al Bregman wrote:

> A graduate student at McGill has done some research with narrow band
> of ambiguous pitch, showing that people are good at identifying melodies
> made of these types of notes, even though they are poor at matching the
> pitch of the individual notes.
> Does anyone know of other examples of the
> superiority of recognizing a larger unit, even though there is a lot of
> uncertainty about the component units?  Are there examples in music?

A good example of the "superiority" of "larger units" due to topdown
signaling is the process of f0 extraction in the auditory midbrain (central
nucleus of the inferior colliculus, ICC).

Musical imagination, as apparently present in the student's experiments,
activates auditory units as low as the ICC (Zatorre et al., 1994, 1996).
Here, combination sensitive neurons (Yan and Suga, 1999) and f0-coding
neurons (Galbraith and Doan, 1995; Galbraith et al., 1998) are under a
stronger topdown influence than neurons coding for simple spectral
information. The available evidence on this issue has been reviewed and
discussed in Braun (2000), chapter 6.5. "Corticofugal facilitation of f0

Zatorre, R.J., Evans, A.C., Meyer, E., 1994. Neural mechanisms underlying
melodic perception and memory for pitch. J. Neurosci. 14, 1908-1919.

Zatorre, R.J., Halpern, A.R., Perry, D.W., Meyer, E., Evans, A.C., 1996.
Hearing in the mind's ear: A PET investigation of musical imagery and
perception. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 8, 29-46.

Yan, J., Suga, N., 1999. Corticofugal amplification of facilitative auditory
responses of subcortical combination-sensitive neurons in the mustached bat.
J. Neurophysiol. 81, 817-824.

Galbraith, G.C., Doan, B.Q., 1995. Brainstem frequency-following and
behavioral responses during selective attention to pure tone and missing
fundamental stimuli. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 19, 203-214.

Galbraith, G.C., Bhuta, S.M., Choate, A.K., Kitahara, J.M., Mullen, T.A.,
1998. Brain stem frequency-following responses to dichotic vowels during
attention. Neuroreport 9, 1889-1893.

Braun, M., 2000. Inferior colliculus as candidate for pitch extraction:
multiple support from statistics of bilateral spontaneous otoacoustic
emissions. Hear. Res. 145, 130-140.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klassbol
e-mail: nombraun@telia.com
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm