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Journal Article

Auditory perceptual learning depends on temporal regularity and certainty (advanced online publication)


Henry,  Molly J.
Research Group Neural and Environmental Rhythms, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychology, Ryerson University;

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Dauer, T., Henry, M. J., & Herrmann, B. (2022). Auditory perceptual learning depends on temporal regularity and certainty (advanced online publication). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 48(7), 755-770. doi:10.1037/xhp0001016.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-9C3F-1
Detecting and learning structure in sounds is fundamental to human auditory perception. Evidence for auditory perceptual learning comes from previous studies where listeners were better at detecting repetitions of a short noise snippet embedded in longer, ongoing noise when the same snippet recurred across trials compared with when the snippet was novel in each trial. However, previous work has mainly used (a) temporally regular presentations of the repeating noise snippet and (b) highly predictable intertrial onset timings for the snippet sequences. As a result, it is unclear how these temporal features affect perceptual learning. In five online experiments, participants judged whether a repeating noise snippet was present, unaware that the snippet could be unique to that trial or used in multiple trials. In two experiments, temporal regularity was manipulated by jittering the timing of noise-snippet repetitions within a trial. In two subsequent experiments, temporal onset certainty was manipulated by varying the onset time of the entire snippet sequence across trials. We found that both temporal jittering and onset uncertainty reduced auditory perceptual learning. In addition, we observed that these reductions in perceptual learning were ameliorated when the same snippet occurred in both temporally manipulated and unmanipulated trials. Our study demonstrates the importance of temporal regularity and onset certainty for auditory perceptual learning.