Ear and Brain Mechanisms for Parsing the Auditory Scene

  • John C. MiddlebrooksEmail author
  • Jonathan Z. Simon
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 60)


The cocktail party is a popular metaphor for the complex auditory scene that is everyday life. In busy offices, crowded restaurants, and noisy streets, a listener is challenged to hear out signals of interest—most often speech from a particular talker—amid a cacophony of competing talkers, broadband machine noise, room reflections, and so forth. This chapter defines the problems that the auditory system must solve and introduces the ensuing chapters, which explore the relevant perception and physiology at all levels: in normal mature hearing, in early development, in aging, and in pathology.


Auditory object Auditory scene analysis Cocktail party problem Energetic masking Grouping Informational masking Stream segregation Streaming 


Compliance with Ethics Requirements

John Middlebrooks has no conflicts of interest.

Jonathan Simon has no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Department of Neurobiology & Behavior, Department of Cognitive Sciences, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Center for Hearing ResearchUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of Biology, Institute for Systems ResearchUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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