An adaptive neural mechanism for acoustic motion perception with varying sparsity

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

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Biological motion-sensitive neural circuits are quite adept in perceiving the relative motion of a relevant stimulus. Motion perception is a fundamental ability in neural sensory processing and crucial in target tracking tasks. Tracking a stimulus entails the ability to perceive its motion, i.e. extracting information about its direction and velocity. Here we focus on auditory motion perception of sound stimuli, which is poorly understood as compared to its visual counterpart. In earlier work we have developed a bio-inspired neural learning mechanism for acoustic motion perception. The mechanism extracts directional information via a model of the peripheral auditory system of lizards. The mechanism uses only this directional information obtained via specific motor behaviour to learn the angular velocity of unoccluded sound stimuli in motion. In nature however the stimulus being tracked may be occluded by artefacts in the environment, such as an escaping prey momentarily disappearing behind a cover of trees. This article extends the earlier work by presenting a comparative investigation of auditory motion perception for unoccluded and occluded tonal sound stimuli with a frequency of 2.2 kHz in both simulation and practice. Three instances of each stimuli are employed, differing in their movement velocities–0.5 deg / time step, 1.0 deg / time step and 1.5 deg / time step. To validate the approach in practice, we implement the proposed neural mechanism on a wheeled mobile robot and evaluate its performance in auditory tracking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Neurorobotics
StatePublished - 2017


  • acoustic motion perception, binaural acoustic tracking, sound localisation, correlation-based learning, lizard peripheral auditory system