To the extent that sensorineural systems are efficient, redundancy should be extracted to optimize transmission of information, but perceptual evidence for this has been limited. Stilp and colleagues recently reported efficient coding of robust correlation (r =. 97) among complex acoustic attributes (attack/decay, spectral shape) in novel sounds. Discrimination of sounds orthogonal to the correlation was initially inferior but later comparable to that of sounds obeying the correlation. These effects were attenuated for less-correlated stimuli (r =. 54) for reasons that are unclear. Here, statistical properties of correlation among acoustic attributes essential for perceptual organization are investigated. Overall, simple strength of the principal correlation is inadequate to predict listener performance. Initial superiority of discrimination for statistically consistent sound pairs was relatively insensitive to decreased physical acoustic/psychoacoustic range of evidence supporting the correlation, and to more frequent presentations of the same orthogonal test pairs. However, increased range supporting an orthogonal dimension has substantial effects upon perceptual organization. Connectionist simulations and Eigenvalues from closed-form calculations of principal components analysis (PCA) reveal that perceptual organization is near-optimally weighted to shared versus unshared covariance in experienced sound distributions. Implications of reduced perceptual dimensionality for speech perception and plausible neural substrates are discussed. © 2012 Stilp.


Stilp, C.E. , Kluender, K.R. Efficient coding and statistically optimal weighting of covariance among acoustic attributes in novel sounds. PLoS ONE Volume 7, Issue 1, 23 January 2012, Article number e30845.


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