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General Question about the Perception of Transients


I recently attended a course on the mathematics of the FFT. In the course I was told that one of the reasons why the FFT is so useful as an audio analysis tool is because it is similar to how the human hearing mechanism works (i.e. that the human hearing mechanism acts, to a certain degree, like a frequency analyser).

I'm interested in the perception of transients, as they play such an important role in the perception of music and in hearing generally. I was wondering if there are any mathematical models of transient perception analogous to the FFT/hearing idea. I've come across research into transient analysis, however most of this seems to be from a strictly DSP perspective, and does not incorporate perceptual factors (or any perceptual model).

I guess what I'm really asking is, are there any DSP approaches to transient analysis that are analogs of the hearing mechanism?

Any help or thoughts on this question would be greatly appreciated.