Scene analysis involves the process of segmenting a field of overlapping objects from each other and from the background. It is a fundamental stage of perception in both vision and hearing. The auditory system encodes complex cues that allow listeners to find boundaries between sequential objects, even when no gap of silence exists between them. In this sense, object perception in hearing is similar to perceiving visual objects defined by isoluminant color, motion or binocular disparity. Motion is one such cue: when a moving sound abruptly disappears from one location and instantly reappears somewhere else, the listener perceives two sequential auditory objects. Smooth reversals of motion direction do not produce this segmentation. We investigated the brain electrical responses evoked by this spatial segmentation cue and compared them to the familiar auditory evoked potential elicited by sound onsets. Segmentation events evoke a pattern of negative and positive deflections that are unlike those evoked by onsets. We identified a negative component in the waveform - the Lateralized Object-Related Negativity - generated by the hemisphere contralateral to the side on which the new sound appears. The relationship between this component and similar components found in related paradigms is considered. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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