Home Page of the Auditory Research Laboratory

Department of Psychology
McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue
Montreal, Quebec Canada H3A 1B1

This website presents the research of the McGill Auditory Research Laboratory and the theoretical ideas that developed from it and guided its investigations. The laboratory, under the direction of Albert S. (Al) Bregman, studied the perceptual organization of sound, from 1969 to 2006, using computers to generate the acoustic patterns that we studied.

As the research progressed, we came to realize that the interesting examples of auditory organization that we were studying were actually part of a much more general process that we dubbed "auditory scene analysis" (ASA). The function of ASA was to decompose the typical mixture of sounds that we encounter in everyday life, allowing our brains to form separate mental descriptions of the individual sounds in the mixture. It turned out that this was not a simple problem and that the auditory system employed a number of methods for carrying it out.

You can use the menu headings at the top of the page to find out all about our research. By exploring the menu "Auditory Lab" and its submenus, you can find out about the history of the laboratory, its facilities and findings, and the people who contributed to its success. You can also see a list of its publications, and download many of them.

Under the "ASA Theory" menu, you can find out how auditory scene analysis works. The major findings are given in fairly non-technical language, as well as some of its practical applications. We also examine the question of whether ASA is innate by looking at research that has studied human adults using physiological methods, as well as research on human infants and on non-human animals. The section entitled "Studies to Do" gives some suggestions about research questions for which we do not yet have the answers, and some hints about how these might be studied. [This section is still under development.]

The "ASA Demos" menu allows you to read about and listen to many audio examples that illustrate how different aspects of ASA work. They are derived from the following CD, which was packaged with a booklet of explanations:

Bregman, A.S., & Ahad, P. (1996) Demonstrations of Auditory Scene Analysis: The Perceptual Organization of Sound. Audio Compact disk. Created in the McGill Auditory Perception Laboratory, and distributed by MIT Press.

You can either listen to the separate examples from this CD and read about them individually, or else download the entire CD, all at once, as a zipped set of MP3 files (58 Mb), and the booklet in PDF format (800 Kb).

The "Bregman CV" menu gives access to Al Bregman's CV in individual sections or as a PDF download.

The "Find Research" menu gives useful links.

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