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Perceptual CoherenceHearing and seeing$
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Stephen Handel

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169645.001.0001

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Characteristics of Auditory and Visual Scenes

Characteristics of Auditory and Visual Scenes

(p.97) 3 Characteristics of Auditory and Visual Scenes
Perceptual Coherence

Stephen Handel

Oxford University Press

If the goal of sensory systems is to maximize information transmission, there should be a match between the functioning of the sensory systems and the statistical properties of the objects in the environment. Analyses of the distribution of acoustical and visual energies indicate that they follow a power law, 1/f, so that there is a constant relationship between frequency and amplitude, namely equal power in all octave regions. To encode this distribution, the auditory and visual systems use cells that resemble Gabor functions that decorrelate local sensory energy to detect the redundancies such as continuous boundaries that signify objects. There is sparse coding so that only a small number of cells fire for any input and those cells minimize the uncertainty problem by trading frequency resolution with orientation or time resolution. The perceptual outcomes are combined with Bayesian prior probabilities to identify the most likely object.

Keywords:   Bayesian prior probabilities, decorrelate, detection of redundancies, Gabor functions, power laws 1/f energy, sparse coding

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