“The what, where and how of auditory-object perception
An auditory object is a perceptual construct, corresponding to the sound that can be assigned to a particular acoustic source. An auditory object spans acoustic events that unfold over time, and a sequence of objects forms a ‘stream': for example, when a person is walking, the sound of each step is a unique auditory object but the temporal sequence of footsteps is linked together to form a stream.
An auditory object is constructed from the spectrotemporal regularities in the acoustic environment. More specifically, an auditory stimulus comes into our awareness as a sound as a result of the simultaneous and sequential principles that group the acoustic features of the auditory stimulus into stable spectrotemporal entities.
Auditory-object processing occurs in the cortex. In particular, the ventral auditory pathway mediates the computations underlying a listener’s ability to perceive a sound (auditory object), whereas object-related information that is found in the dorsal pathway is used in the pursuit of audiomotor behaviours.
Neural correlates of the perception of an auditory object are found in the auditory cortex. Whereas some studies indicate that the ventral pathway contains brain regions specialized for auditory-object processing, auditory perception is most likely to be mediated by a broad network of brain areas in this pathway.
A hallmark of auditory-object processing is that it can be influenced by attention and that attention can act on the object itself and not the lower-level spectrotemporal details of the auditory stimulus. Both single-unit and functional imaging studies demonstrate the effects of attention on the representation of auditory objects in the auditory cortex.”