Auditory perceptual learning of tonal patterns

Marjorie R. Leek, Charles S. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Characteristics of auditory perceptual learning were investigated by monitoring improvements in the identification of tonal patterns ranging in length from 135 to 540 msec in total duration. Increasing amounts of temporal complexity were imposed by the combination of elementary 3-tone segments into sequences of two, three, or four segments, thus creating patterns of 3 to 12 tones that varied in frequency and duration. Four of 5 listeners approached asymptotic identification accuracy near 90% for the longest patterns (12 tones) after about 20 h of experience with these stimuli over several weeks of daily practice. Identification was most accurate for the initial and final portions of each pattern and poorest for the middle sections. Large individual differences among subjects were apparent in the order in which the patterns were learned and in the difficulty of the various patterns for each listener. These findings suggest differences in learning strategies or differences in the focusing of auditory attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-394
Number of pages6
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)


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