Auditory scene analysis: An attention perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: This review article provides a new perspective on the role of attention in auditory scene analysis. Method: A framework for understanding how attention interacts with stimulus-driven processes to facilitate task goals is presented. Previously reported data obtained through behavioral and electrophysiological measures in adults with normal hearing are summarized to demonstrate attention effects on auditory perception—from passive processes that organize unattended input to attention effects that act at different levels of the system. Data will show that attention can sharpen stream organization toward behavioral goals, identify auditory events obscured by noise, and limit passive processing capacity. Conclusions: A model of attention is provided that illustrates how the auditory system performs multilevel analyses that involve interactions between stimulus-driven input and top-down processes. Overall, these studies show that (a) stream segregation occurs automatically and sets the basis for auditory event formation; (b) attention interacts with automatic processing to facilitate task goals; and (c) information about unattended sounds is not lost when selecting one organization over another. Our results support a neural model that allows multiple sound organizations to be held in memory and accessed simultaneously through a balance of automatic and task-specific processes, allowing flexibility for navigating noisy environments with competing sound sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2989-3000
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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