Jun 27, 2015

Musical training, individual differences and the cocktail party problem

Scientific Reports
Jayaganesh SwaminathanAniruddh D Patel


Are musicians better able to understand speech in noise than non-musicians? Recent findings have produced contradictory results. Here we addressed this question by asking musicians and non-musicians to understand target sentences masked by other sentences presented from different spatial locations, the classical 'cocktail party problem' in speech science. We found that musicians obtained a substantial benefit in this situation, with thresholds ~6 dB better than non-musicians. Large individual differences in performance were noted particularly for the non-musically trained group. Furthermore, in different conditions we manipulated the spatial location and intelligibility of the masking sentences, thus changing the amount of 'informational masking' (IM) while keeping the amount of 'energetic masking' (EM) relatively constant. When the maskers were unintelligible and spatially separated from the target (low in IM), musicians and non-musicians performed comparably. These results suggest that the characteristics of speech maskers and the amount of IM can influence the magnitude of the differences found between musicians and non-musicians in multiple-talker "cocktail party" environments. Furthermore, considering the task in terms of ...Continue Reading

  • References45
  • Citations42


  • References45
  • Citations42


Mentioned in this Paper

Spatial Distribution
Vocal Melody
Auditory Threshold
Acoustic Stimulation
Pharmacologic Substance
Electron Microscopy
Psychomotor Performance

Related Feeds

Auditory Perception

Auditory perception is the ability to receive and interpret information attained by the ears. Here is the latest research on factors and underlying mechanisms that influence auditory perception.

Related Papers

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Dana BoebingerSophie K Scott
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
K S Helfer, Richard L Freyman
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Adriana A ZekveldJerker Rönnberg
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Gary L Jones, Ruth Litovsky
© 2020 Meta ULC. All rights reserved