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Auditory Perception and Cognition

  1. Stephen McAdams PhD1,
  2. Carolyn Drake PhD2

Published Online: 15 JUL 2002

DOI: 10.1002/0471214426.pas0110

Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology

Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology

How to Cite

McAdams, S. and Drake, C. 2002. Auditory Perception and Cognition. Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    CNRS/Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, Paris, France

  2. 2

    CNRS/Université René Descartes, Paris, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2002


The sound environment in which we live is extraordinarily rich. How do we extract and make use of the information available in this highly structured acoustic array? A number of perceptual mechanisms are involved in the processing of acoustic information to disentangle the many sources present and to evaluate the properties of individual events or sequences of events arising from a given source. At a more cognitive level, the temporal relations among events in longer sequences must be processed to understand the nature of actions on objects that are extended in time. These temporally extended actions may carry important cultural messages, such as in speech and music for humans. In many cases, with so much going on, listening must be focused on a given source of sound. This focusing process must possess dynamic characteristics that are tuned to the temporal evolution of the source that is being tracked in order to understand its message. Aspects of these complex problem areas are addressed in this chapter to give a flavor for current work in auditory perception and cognition. This chapter focuses on auditory scene analysis, timbre and sound source perception, temporal pattern processing and attentional processes in hearing, and finishes with a consideration of relevant developmental issues.


  • auditory attention;
  • auditory recognition;
  • auditory scene analysis;
  • auditory temporal pattern perception;
  • development of auditory perception;
  • sound source perception;
  • timbre perception