Deciphering the auditory scene is a problem faced by many organisms. However, when faced with numerous overlapping sounds from multiple locations, listeners are still able to attribute the individual sound objects to their individual sound-producing sources. Here, the characteristics of sounds important for integrating versus segregating in birds were determined. Budgerigars and zebra finches were trained using operant conditioning procedures on an identification task to peck one key when they heard a whole zebra finch song and to peck another when they heard a zebra finch song missing a middle syllable. Once the birds were trained to a criterion performance level on those stimuli, probe trials were introduced on a small proportion of trials. The probe songs contained modifications of the incomplete training song's missing syllable. When the bird responded as if the probe was a whole song, it suggests they streamed together the altered syllable and the rest of the song. When the bird responded as if the probe was a non-whole song, it suggests they segregated the altered probe from the rest of the song. Results show that some features, such as location and intensity, are more important for segregating than other features, such as timing and frequency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics