Informational masking and auditory attention

Marjorie R. Leek, Mary E. Brown, Michael Dorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Informational masking is broadly defined as a degradation of auditory detection or discrimination of a signal embedded ina context of other similar sounds; it is not related to energetic masking caused by physical interactions between signal and masker. In this paper, we report a systematic release from informational masking of a target tone in anine-tone rapid auditory sequence as the target is increasingly isolated in frequency or intensity from the remaieining sequence components. Improved target-tone frequency difference limens as isolation increases are interpreted as a reflection of increasingly focused auditory attention. The change from diffuse to highly focused attention is gradual over the frequency and intensity ranges examined, with each 1-dB increment in target intensity relative to the remaining components producing performance improvements equivalent to those produced by a 2% increase in frequency isolation. The results are modeled as bands of attention in the frequency and intensity domains. For attention directed by frequency isolation, there is a strong correspondence with auditory filters predicted by the power spectrum model of masking. These data also support the existence of an attention band of intensity, with a bandwidth of about 5-7 dB at the moderate levels used in this experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1991

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Differential Threshold
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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Informational masking and auditory attention. / Leek, Marjorie R.; Brown, Mary E.; Dorman, Michael.

In: Perception & Psychophysics, Vol. 50, No. 3, 05.1991, p. 205-214.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Leek, MR, Brown, ME & Dorman, M 1991, 'Informational masking and auditory attention', Perception & Psychophysics, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 205-214. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03206743
Leek, Marjorie R. ; Brown, Mary E. ; Dorman, Michael. / Informational masking and auditory attention. In: Perception & Psychophysics. 1991 ; Vol. 50, No. 3. pp. 205-214.
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