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When we listen, we effortlessly hear the separate sounds of our environment—voices, musical instruments, cars—each coming from its appropriate direction and having its own characteristic qualities such as pitch and timbre. This simple perceptual experience is the result of the complex brain mechanisms of auditory scene analysis (ASA), described in this entry. ASA addresses the problem of grouping together those frequency components that have originated from the same sound source, thereby separating them from other sounds that happen to be present at the same time. The problem of ASA can be conceptually divided into two parts: deciding which simultaneous frequency components belong together to form a sound source, and then sequentially tracking a particular sound source across time. These mechanisms make it possible for ...

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