The role of expectation and probabilistic learning in auditory boundary perception: A model comparison

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Pearce, Marcus T. ; Müllensiefen, Daniel ; Wiggins, Geraint (2010)
  • Publisher: Pion

Grouping and boundary perception are central to many aspects of sensory processing in cognition. We present a comparative study of recently published computational models of boundary perception in music. In doing so, we make three contributions. First, we hypothesise a relationship between expectation and grouping in auditory perception, and introduce a novel information-theoretic model of perceptual segmentation to test the hypothesis. Although we apply the model to musical melody, it is applicable in principle to sequential grouping in other areas of cognition. Second, we address a methodological consideration in the analysis of ambiguous stimuli that produce different percepts between individuals.We propose and demonstrate a solution to this problem, based on clustering of participants prior to analysis. Third, we conduct the first comparative analysis of probabilistic-learning and rule-based models of perceptual grouping in music. In spite of having only unsupervised exposure to music, the model performs comparably to rule-based models based on expert musical knowledge, supporting a role for probabilistic learning in perceptual segmentation of music
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