Natural Sound Statistics
What are the statistical regularities in naturally occurring sounds? How are these utilized by the auditory system? Can we harness large-scale analysis of real-world audio to yield clues about auditory mechanisms?
How do humans estimate a particular sound source in the presence of other sounds? Can we utilize clues from biological audition to build machine systems that mirror our abilities? Why do hearing-impaired listeners particularly struggle at this task, as when trying to follow a conversation in a restaurant, and how can we improve hearing aid technology to mitigate their difficulties?
Everyday Sound Recognition
How do we recognize the acoustic signature of particular semantic events, such as someone walking on gravel, or splashing in a pond?
Textures are the sound of multiple similar acoustic events, as are produced by rain or a flock of birds. How are such sounds represented in the auditory system, and how are they treated in auditory scene analysis?
Sound from a source is typically reflected and absorbed by surrounding surfaces as it propagates to a listener’s ears. These reflections and absorptions contain information about the environment, but profoundly distort the sound that reaches the ear. How is our ability to recognize speech and other sounds robust to the effects of reverberation, and how do we use reverberation to make inferences about the environment around us?
What are the mechanisms underlying the perception of pitch? How is the pitch variation in speech and music extracted and represented?
How do humans selectively attend to a sound source of interest? What are the consequences of attending to, or ignoring, a sound? When does attentional selection fail, and why?
Music Perception and Cognition
What makes music pleasurable? Why we have music to begin with? How are the mechanisms underlying music perception/cognition related to those of other domains?