About this Research Topic
Auditory perception shows significant perceptual reorganization at timescales ranging from minutes to years. Such rapid learning has been used by researchers to explain noise tolerance, pattern completion, efficiency of processing, and resolution of pattern ambiguity.
The view that auditory perception can be reorganized through learning, however, raises questions as to whether and how mechanisms of learning and adaptation should be incorporated into current theories of perception. In particular, it is unclear how learning should be incorporated into prevailing models that assume a separation of the process of perception as recognition and the process of learning, whereby perception could be modified. Furthermore, the typical view dissociating recognition and learning often separates perception from putative “higher-level” cognitive processes such as attention and working memory, which may be important for aspects of learning.
Given that the behavioral relevance of auditory cues can differ across circumstances and over time, it is imperative to explain how listeners flexibly respond to such differences in listening conditions. One view is that listeners use contextual information along with their expectations to organize the selection and processing of pattern information. This suggests that perception and cognitive processes may be wholly integrated and undifferentiated, such that contextual constraints can affect the cognitive resources necessary to achieve successful recognition.
This Research Topic aims to attract research that tests specific hypotheses about the mechanisms that underlie the rapid and ongoing adaptation of perceptual systems to flexibly respond to changes in the behavioral relevance of auditory cues. Research should critically and rigorously address the interplay, if any, between cognitive and perceptual levels of processing -- or address whether it is appropriate to separate those functions at all. To this end, this research topic will prioritize research that examines perception under challenging processing conditions and in situations in which the behavioral relevance associated with pattern information is not fixed. This research topic additionally encourages the submission of innovative neural measurement techniques capable of assessing the broader corticofugal system to illuminate the mechanisms that underlie adaptive processing in perception. Research that is able to address these issues using animal models is also encouraged.
This Research Topic encourages both empirical and theoretical papers focused on both understanding rapid learning in auditory recognition as well as long-term learning and processes that consolidate and integrate recent learning with previous experience. We specifically welcome papers that address the following questions:
● How does perception depend on adaptive processing and how does the evidence of perceptual learning relate to the processes of recognition and action?
● What are the cognitive and neural mechanisms that mediate short-term and long-term learning, consolidation of perceptual experience, and the effects of past perceptual experiences on perceptual processing?
● What is the role of categorization in mediating the relationship between perception and behavior? Are categories needed for organisms to produce adaptive behavior, or can we (do we?) do without them?
● If the flexibility of perception depends in part on attention, working memory, and learning, to what degree should speech communication be approached as a skill rather than a passive device that simply matches incoming signals to meaning?
Keywords: Auditory Perception, Plasticity, Consolidation, Perceptual Learning, Perceptual Stability
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.