Testing an auditory illusion in frogs: Perceptual restoration or sensory bias?

Folkert Seeba, Joshua J. Schwartz, Mark A. Bee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The human auditory system perceptually restores short deleted segments of speech and other sounds (e.g. tones) when the resulting silent gaps are filled by a potential masking noise. When this phenomenon, known as 'auditory induction', occurs, listeners experience the illusion of hearing an ongoing sound continuing through the interrupting noise even though the perceived sound is not physically present. Such illusions suggest that a key function of the auditory system is to allow listeners to perceive complete auditory objects with incomplete acoustic information, as may often be the case in multisource acoustic environments. At present, however, we know little about the possible functions of auditory induction in the sound-mediated behaviours of animals. The present study used two-choice phonotaxis experiments to test the hypothesis that female grey treefrogs, Hyla chrysoscelis, experience the illusory perceptual restoration of discrete pulses in the male advertisement call when pulses are deleted and replaced by a potential masking noise. While added noise restored some attractiveness to calls with missing pulses, there was little evidence to suggest that the frogs actually experienced the illusion of perceiving the missing pulses. Instead, the added noise appeared to function as an acoustic appendage that made some calls more attractive than others as a result of sensory biases, the expression of which depended on the temporal order and acoustic structure of the added appendages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1317-1328
Number of pages12
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Auditory grouping
  • Auditory induction
  • Auditory scene analysis
  • Continuity illusion
  • Gray treefrog
  • Perceptual restoration
  • Phonemic restoration
  • Sensory bias
  • Temporal induction


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing an auditory illusion in frogs: Perceptual restoration or sensory bias?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this