.

Professor Brian Roberts

 

Professor of Auditory Perception

Associate Director - Postgraduate Research Student Training; Postgraduate Tutor 

Psychology
School of Life and Health Sciences
Aston University

Birmingham B4 7ET
UK

Mailto: b.roberts@aston.ac.uk
telephone: +44 (0) 121 204 3887
fax: +44 (0) 121 204 4090

Research Theme

Vision, Hearing and Language

Research Centre

Centre for Research in Vision and Hearing(CRVH)

Brain Roberts

Research Interests

Hearing is the process by which we perceive objects and events in the world from the sounds that they produce. Since it is rare for only one source of sound to be active at any one time, the auditory system must be able to group together those acoustic elements that come from one source and to segregate those that come from other sources. Without a solution to this “scene analysis” problem, our perceptions of sound would not correspond to the events that produced them. Research in the auditory perception laboratory at Aston employs a variety of psychophysical techniques to investigate the cues used by the human auditory system for perceptual grouping and scene analysis. Particular interests are the perceptual organization of speech, the role of harmonic relations and other kinds of spectral pattern in the perceptual organization of concurrent acoustic elements, and the acoustic properties that determine the perceptual streaming of sequences of sounds. Also of interest are: the neural bases of auditory grouping phenomena; how the effects of wideband inhibition may produce patterns of behaviour confusable with those produced by more cognitive grouping mechanisms; auditory streaming in cochlear implant listeners; and the categorization and identification of sounds.

Auditory Perception Laboratory

Brian is Director of the Auditory Perception Laboratory in the School of Life and Health Sciences. The laboratory is located in rooms SW620 b & c.

Members, Affiliates, and Former Members of the Auditory Perception Lab

Robert Summers (Member: Research Fellow – rejoined the lab on a new ESRC-funded project on 1st April 2013; see below)

Saima Rajasingam (Member: PhD Student – funded by Aston University. Research area: Dynamics of auditory stream segregation. Commenced in October 2012)

Marcin Stachurski (Former PhD Student – funded by EPSRC. Research area: Auditory grouping and the verbal transformation effect. PhD was awarded in March 2013).

Huw Cooper (Affiliate: Former PhD Student – currently in clinical practice in Audiology, University Hospitals Birmingham)

Nick Haywood (Affiliate: Former PhD Student – currently working at the UCL Ear Institute, London)

Stephen Holmes (Former Research Fellow – currently working in the private sector)

Current Research Projects 

Understanding speech in the presence of other speech: Perceptual mechanisms for auditory scene analysis in human listeners. Project funded by ESRC. 1st April 2013 - 31st March 2016. (PI: Brian Roberts, named RF: Robert Summers)

Recent Research Projects

The perceptual organization of speech: Contributions of general and speech-specific factors. Project funded by EPSRC. This project supported a three-year full-time postdoctoral research fellow and a three-year full-time PhD student at Aston. Our Co-Investigator was based in the Department of Psychology at the University of York. (PI: Brian Roberts, Co-I: Peter Bailey, RF: Robert Summers, PhD: Marcin Stachurski). A summary of key results, papers, and posters arising from this project can be accessed via the following link: EPSRC Outputs Summary

Brainstem mechanisms for the perceptual segregation and fusion of auditory objects. Project funded by the BBSRC and by Aston University. This project ran in collaboration with a joint project led by Dr. Ian Winter of the Physiology Department, University of Cambridge. (Stephen Holmes, Brian Roberts)

The build-up and resetting of auditory stream segregation. (Nick Haywood, Brian Roberts)

The auditory continuity illusion. (Nick Haywood, Valter Ciocca, Brian Roberts)

Auditory grouping in cochlear implant listeners. (Huw Cooper, Brian Roberts)

Perception of simultaneous sentences with frequency-shifted voiced excitation. (Chris Darwin, Stephen Holmes, Brian Roberts)

Main Publications

(44) Roberts, B., Summers, R.J., and Bailey, P.J. (2014). “Formant-frequency variation and informational masking of speech by extraneous formants: Evidence against dynamic and speech-specific acoustical constraints,”Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance. Online First Publication, 19th May, 2014.

(43) Roberts, B., Summers, R.J., and Bailey, P.J. (2013). "Formant-frequency variation and its effects on across-formant grouping in speech perception". IN: Basic aspects of hearing. Moore, Brian C.J.; Patterson, Roy D.; Winter, Ian M.; Carlyon, Robert P. and Gockel, Hedwig E. (eds) Advances in experimental medicine and biology. New York (US): Springer.

(42) Haywood, N.R., and Roberts, B. (2013). “Build-up of auditory stream segregation induced by tone sequences of constant or alternating frequency and the resetting effects of single deviants,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 39, 1652-1666.

(41) Holmes, S.D., and Roberts, B. (2012). “Pitch shifts on mistuned harmonics in the presence and absence of corresponding in-tune components,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132, 1548-1560.

(40) Summers, R.J., Bailey, P.J., and Roberts, B. (2012). “Effects of the rate of formant-frequency variation on the grouping of formants in speech perception,” Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 13, 269-280.

(39) Holmes, S.D., and Roberts, B. (2011). “The influence of adaptation and inhibition on the effects of onset asynchrony on auditory grouping,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 37, 1988-2000.

(38) Haywood, N.R., and Roberts, B. (2011). “Effects of inducer continuity on auditory stream segregation: Comparison of physical and perceived continuity in different contexts,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 130, 2917-2927.

(37) Haywood, N.R., and Roberts, B. (2011). “Sequential grouping of pure-tone percepts evoked by the segregation of components from a complex tone,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 37, 1263-1274.

(36) Roberts, B., Summers, R.J., and Bailey, P.J. (2011). “The intelligibility of noise-vocoded speech: Spectral information available from across-channel comparison of amplitude envelopes,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 278, 1595-1600.

(35) Summers, R.J., Bailey, P.J., and Roberts, B. (2010). “Effects of differences in fundamental frequency on across-formant grouping in speech perception,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 3667-3677.

(34) Haywood, N.R., and Roberts, B. (2010). “Build-up of the tendency to segregate auditory streams: Resetting effects of single deviant tones,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 3019-3031.

(33) Roberts, B., Summers, R.J., and Bailey, P.J. (2010). “The perceptual organization of sine-wave speech under competitive conditions,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 804-817.

(32) Cooper, H.R., and Roberts, B. (2010). “Simultaneous grouping in cochlear implant listeners: Can abrupt changes in level be used to segregate components from a complex tone?” Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 11, 89-100.

(31) Cooper, H.R., and Roberts, B. (2009). “Auditory stream segregation in cochlear implant listeners: Measures based on temporal discrimination and interleaved melody recognition,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 126, 1975-1987.

(30) Roberts, B., Glasberg, B.R., and Moore, B.C.J. (2008). “Effects of the build-up and resetting of auditory stream segregation on temporal discrimination,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 34, 992-1006.

(29) Roberts, B., and Holmes, S.D. (2007). “Contralateral influences of wideband inhibition on the effect of onset asynchrony as a cue for auditory grouping,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 121, 3655-3665.

(28) Cooper, H.R., and Roberts, B. (2007). “Auditory stream segregation of tone sequences in cochlear implant listeners,” Hearing Research, 225, 11-24.

(27) Roberts, B., and Holmes, S.D. (2006). “Grouping and the pitch of a mistuned fundamental component: Effects of applying simultaneous multiple mistunings to the other harmonics,” Hearing Research, 222, 79-88.

(26) Holmes, S.D., and Roberts, B. (2006). “Inhibitory influences on asynchrony as a cue for auditory segregation,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 32, 1231-1242.

(25) Roberts, B., and Holmes, S.D. (2006). “Asynchrony and the grouping of vowel components: Captor tones revisited,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119, 2905-2918.

(24) Roberts, B. (2005). “Spectral pattern, grouping, and the pitches of complex tones and their components,” Acta Acustica united with Acustica, 91, 945-957.

(23) Turgeon, M., Bregman, A.S., and Roberts, B. (2005). “Rhythmic masking release: Effects of asynchrony, temporal overlap, harmonic relations, and source separation on cross-spectral grouping,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 31, 939-953.

(22) Roberts, B., Harris, M.G., and Yates, T.A. (2005). “The roles of inducer size and distance in the Ebbinghaus illusion (Titchener circles),” Perception, 34, 847-856.

(21) Cusack, R., and Roberts, B. (2004). “Effects of differences in the pattern of amplitude envelopes across harmonics on auditory stream segregation,” Hearing Research, 193, 95-104.

(20) Roberts, B., and Brunstrom, J.M. (2003). “Spectral pattern, harmonic relations, and the perceptual grouping of low-numbered components,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 114, 2118-2134.

(19) Roberts, B., Glasberg, B.R., and Moore, B.C.J. (2002). “Primitive stream segregation of tone sequences without differences in fundamental frequency or passband,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 112, 2074-2085.

(18) Roberts, B., and Brunstrom, J.M. (2001). “Perceptual fusion and fragmentation of complex tones made inharmonic by applying different degrees of frequency shift and spectral stretch,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 110, 2479-2490.

(17) Brunstrom, J.M., and Roberts, B. (2001). “Effects of asynchrony and ear of presentation on the pitch of mistuned partials in harmonic and frequency-shifted complex tones,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 110, 391-401.

(16) Cusack, R., and Roberts, B. (2000). “Effects of differences in timbre on sequential grouping,” Perception & Psychophysics, 62, 1112-1120.

(15) Brunstrom, J.M., and Roberts, B. (2000). “Separate mechanisms govern the selection of spectral components for perceptual fusion and for the computation of global pitch,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 107, 1566-1577.

(14) Cusack, R., and Roberts, B. (1999). “Effects of similarity in bandwidth on the auditory sequential streaming of two-tone complexes,” Perception, 28, 1281-1289.

(13) Brunstrom, J.M., and Roberts, B. (1998). “Profiling the perceptual suppression of partials in periodic complex tones: Further evidence for a harmonic template,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 104, 3511-3519.

(12) Roberts, B., and Brunstrom, J.M. (1998). “Perceptual segregation and pitch shifts of mistuned components in harmonic complexes and in regular inharmonic complexes,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 104, 2326-2338.

(11) Roberts, B. (1998). “Effects of spectral pattern on the perceptual salience of partials in harmonic and frequency-shifted complex tones: A performance measure,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 103, 3588-3596.

(10) Brunstrom, J.M., MacRae, A.W., and Roberts, B. (1997). “Mouth-state dependent changes in the judged pleasantness of water at different temperatures,” Physiology and Behavior, 61, 667-669.

(9) Roberts, B., and Bailey, P.J. (1996). “Spectral regularity as a factor distinct from harmonic relations in auditory grouping,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 22, 604-614.

(8) Roberts, B., and Bailey, P.J. (1996). “Regularity of spectral pattern and its effects on the perceptual fusion of harmonics,” Perception & Psychophysics, 58, 289-299.

(7) Roberts, B., and Bailey, P.J. (1993). “Spectral pattern and the perceptual fusion of harmonics II: A special status for added components?” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 94, 3165-3177.

(6) Roberts, B., and Bailey, P.J. (1993). “Spectral pattern and the perceptual fusion of harmonics I: The role of temporal factors,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 94, 3153-3164.

(5) Roberts, B., and Bregman, A.S. (1991). “Effects of the pattern of spectral spacing on the perceptual fusion of harmonics,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 90, 3050-3060.

(4) Roberts, B., and Moore, B.C.J. (1991). “Modeling the effects of extraneous sounds on the perceptual estimation of first-formant frequency in vowels,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 89, 2933-2951.

(3) Roberts, B., and Moore, B.C.J. (1991). “The influence of extraneous sounds on the perceptual estimation of first-formant frequency in vowels under conditions of asynchrony,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 89, 2922-2932.

(2) Roberts, B., and Moore, B.C.J. (1990). “The influence of extraneous sounds on the perceptual estimation of first-formant frequency in vowels,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 88, 2571-2583.

(1) Moore, B.C.J., Glasberg, B.R., and Roberts, B. (1984). “Refining the measurement of psychophysical tuning curves,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 76, 1057-1066.

 

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research