Our remarkable capacity to process information in sound is demonstrated everyday as we make sense of the continuous pattern of variation in the acoustic signals we encounter. The long-term goal of this project is to better understand this ability in normal-hearing adults through controlled measures of their ability to detect and discriminate variation in acoustic patterns made up of tones. There are three key elements of our approach. First, all efforts are linked by a single theoretical framework where the information in the patterns is given precise meaning and listener performance is evaluated relative to a common performance standard. Second, the manner in which different internal factors influence the listener's response is determined from trial-by:trial analyses of the data. Third, specific hypotheses regarding the outcome of experiments are generated based on known nonlinear transformations performed at the auditory periphery and a decision model that has made accurate predictions for the results of many past studies [R.A. Lutfi, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 94, 748-758 (1993)]. Present aims are to: (1) measure auditory nonlinearity in the discrimination of pure-tone frequency, intensity and duration (2) determine the specific influence of auditory nonlinearity, listener decision weights, and internal noise on the integration of information across frequency and time, and (3) demonstrate successful achievement of aims by maximizing information rate through stimulus design. By advancing our understanding of the normal adult capacity to process information in sound the results may prove key in the development of technologies and rehabilitative strategies that deal more effectively with the impact of dysfunctional hearing on everyday listening.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Auditory System Study Section (AUD)
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Donahue, Amy
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University of Wisconsin Madison
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
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Gilbertson, Lynn R; Lutfi, Robert A; Ellis Weismer, Susan (2017) Auditory preference of children with autism spectrum disorders. Cogn Process 18:205-209
Chang, An-Chieh; Lutfi, Robert; Lee, Jungmee et al. (2016) A Detection-Theoretic Analysis of Auditory Streaming and Its Relation to Auditory Masking. Trends Hear 20:
Lee, Jungmee; Heo, Inseok; Chang, An-Chieh et al. (2016) Individual Differences in Behavioural Decision Weights Related to Irregularities in Cochlear Mechanics. Adv Exp Med Biol 894:457-465
Chang, An-Chieh; Lutfi, Robert A; Lee, Jungmee (2015) Auditory streaming of tones of uncertain frequency, level, and duration. J Acoust Soc Am 138:EL504-8
Gilbertson, Lynn; Lutfi, Robert A; Lee, Jungmee (2015) Estimates of decision weights and internal noise in the masked discrimination of vowels by young and elderly adults. J Acoust Soc Am 137:EL403-7
Gilbertson, Lynn; Lutfi, Robert A (2014) Correlations of decision weights and cognitive function for the masked discrimination of vowels by young and old adults. Hear Res 317:9-14
Chang, An-Chieh; Lutfi, Robert (2013) Effect of frequency variation and covariation on auditory streaming of tone sequences. J Acoust Soc Am 134:4231
Lutfi, Robert A; Gilbertson, Lynn; Heo, Inseok et al. (2013) The information-divergence hypothesis of informational masking. J Acoust Soc Am 134:2160-70
Lutfi, Robert A; Liu, Ching-Ju; Stoelinga, Christophe N J (2013) A new approach to sound source segregation. Adv Exp Med Biol 787:203-11
Lutfi, Robert (2013) Auditory informational masking and the Ear Club connection. J Acoust Soc Am 134:4163

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