An Information Theoretic Approach Toward Assessing Perceptual Audio Quality Using EEG

Ketan Mehta, Jörg Kliewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this paper, we propose a novel information theoretic model to interpret the entire 'transmission chain' comprising stimulus generation, brain processing by the human subject, and the electroencephalograph (EEG) response measurements as a nonlinear, time-varying communication channel with memory. We use mutual information (MI) as a measure to assess audio quality perception by directly measuring the brainwave responses of the human subjects using a high resolution EEG. Our focus here is on audio where the quality is impaired by time varying distortions. In particular, we conduct experiments where subjects are presented with audio whose quality varies with time between different possible quality levels. The recorded EEG measurements can be modeled as a multidimensional Gaussian mixture model (GMM). In order to make the computation of the MI feasible, we present a novel low-complexity approximation technique for the differential entropy of the multidimensional GMM. We find the proposed information theoretic approach to be successful in quantifying subjective audio quality perception, with the results being consistent across different music sequences and distortion types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7331309
Pages (from-to)176-187
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • Gaussian mixture model (GMM)
  • Mutual information
  • audio quality
  • electroencephalography (EEG)
  • perception


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