Index of content:
Volume 129, Issue 3, March 2011
- PSYCHOLOGICAL ACOUSTICS 
Masked detection and discrimination of tone sequences under conditions of monaural and binaural masking release129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3552885View Description Hide Description
Experiment I examined detection and discrimination of monaural four-tone sequences composed of 400-, 500-, and 625-Hz sinusoids. In the baseline conditions, the masker was monaural composed of 25-Hz-wide bands of random noise centered on 320, 400, 500, 625, and 781 Hz. In the binaural masking release conditions, the noise was presented diotically. In the monaural masking release conditions, the noise was presented to the same ear as the signal, but it was comodulated. Tones had half-amplitude durations of 30, 60, or 150 ms. There was no delay between successive tones, so the rate of frequency change depended on tone duration. Listeners discriminated between sequences composed of 500–400–625–500 Hz and 500–625–400–500 Hz. Discrimination results were poor for rapid sequences in both monaural and binaural masking release conditions relative to baseline conditions. Results from experiment II indicated that poor discrimination for rapid sequences could also occur in the baseline conditions, provided that the frequency separation among tonal components was small. Sluggish processing in the present paradigm was not restricted to conditions relying on binaural cues. It is argued that sluggishness may reflect a long temporal window in monaural and binaural masking release conditions or an interaction between poor cue quality and task difficulty.
129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3533728View Description Hide Description
The study measured listener sensitivity to increments in the inter-onset intervals (IOIs) of successive 20-ms 4000-Hz tone bursts in isochronous sequences. The stimulus sequences contained two-six tone bursts, separated equally by silent intervals, with tonal IOIs ranging from 25 to 100 ms. Difference limens (DLs) for increments of the tonal IOIs were measured to assess listener sensitivity to changes of sequence rate. Comparative DLs were also measured for increments of a single interval located within six-tone isochronous sequences with different tone rates. Listeners included younger normal-hearing adults and two groups of older adults with and without high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. The results, expressed as Weber fractions (DL/IOI), revealed that discrimination improved as the sequencetone rate decreased and the number of tonal components increased. Discrimination of a single sequence interval also improved as the number of sequence components increased from two to six but only for brief intervals and fast sequence rates. Discrimination performance of the older listeners with and without hearing loss was equivalent and significantly poorer than that of the younger listeners. The discrimination results are examined and discussed within the context of multiple-look mechanisms and possible age-related differences in the sensory coding of signal onsets.
Lateralization produced by envelope-based interaural temporal disparities of high-frequency, raised-sine stimuli: Empirical data and modeling129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3552875View Description Hide Description
An acoustic pointing task was used to measure extents of laterality produced by ongoing interaural temporal disparities (ITDs) conveyed by the envelopes of 4-kHz-centered raised-sine stimuli while varying, parametrically, their peakedness, depth of modulation, and frequency of modulation. One purpose of the study was to determine whether such manipulations would produce changes in laterality logically consistent with those found for ITD-discrimination thresholds reported by Bernstein and Trahiotis [J. Acoust. Soc. Am.125, 3234–3242 (2009)]. The data obtained revealed that they did in that (1) increasing depth of modulation, peakedness, or frequency of modulation between 32 and 128 Hz produced smaller threshold ITDs and greater laterality and (2) increasing frequency of modulation to 256 Hz produced modest increases in threshold ITDs and modest decreases in laterality. The extents of laterality measured were successfully accounted for via an augmentation of the cross-correlation-based “position-variable” modeling approach developed by Stern and Shear [J. Acoust. Soc. Am.100, 2278–2288 (1996)] to account for ITD-based extents of laterality obtained at low spectral frequencies.
129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3531836View Description Hide Description
The precedence effect (PE) describes the ability to localize a direct, leading sound correctly when its delayed copy (lag) is present, though not separately audible. The relative contribution of binaural cues in the temporal fine structure (TFS) of lead–lag signals was compared to that of interaural level differences (ILDs) and interaural time differences(ITDs) carried in the envelope. In a localization dominance paradigm participants indicated the spatial location of lead–lag stimuli processed with a binauralnoise-band vocoder whose noise carriers introduced random TFS. The PE appeared for noise bursts of 10 ms duration, indicating dominance of envelope information. However, for three test words the PE often failed even at short lead–lag delays, producing two images, one toward the lead and one toward the lag. When interaural correlation in the carrier was increased, the images appeared more centered, but often remained split. Although previous studies suggest dominance of TFS cues, no image is lateralized in accord with the ITD in the TFS. An interpretation in the context of auditory scene analysis is proposed: By replacing the TFS with that of noise the auditory system loses the ability to fuse lead and lag into one object, and thus to show the PE.
129(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3533727View Description Hide Description
The perception of spatially distributed sound sources was investigated by conducting two listening experiments in anechoic conditions with 13 loudspeakers evenly distributed in the frontal horizontal plane emitting incoherent noise signals. In the first experiment, widely distributed sound sources with gaps in their distribution emitted pink noise. The results indicated that the exact loudspeaker distribution could not be perceived accurately and that the width of the distribution was perceived to be narrower than it was in reality. Up to three spatially distributed loudspeakers that were simultaneously emitting sound could be individually perceived. In addition, the number of loudspeakers that were indicated as emitting sound was smaller than the actual number. In the second experiment, a reference with 13 loudspeakers and test cases with fewer loudspeakers were presented and their perceived spatial difference was rated. The effect of the noise bandwidth was of particular interest. Noise with different bandwidths centered around 500 and 4000 Hz was used. The results indicated that when the number of loudspeakers was increased from four to seven, the perceived auditory event was very similar to that perceived with 13 loudspeakers at all bandwidths. The perceived differences were larger in wideband noise than in narrow-band noise.