The spectral properties of a complex stimulus (rippled noise) were varied over time, and listeners were asked to discriminate between this stimulus and a flat-spectrum, stationary noise. The spacing between the spectral peaks of rippled noise was changed sinusoidally as a function of time, or the location of the spectral peaks of rippled noise was moved up and down the spectrum as a sinusoidal function of time. In most conditions, listeners were able to make the discriminations up to rates of temporal modulation of 5-10 cycles per second. Beyond 5-10 cps the rippled noise with the temporally varying peaks was indiscriminable from a flat (nonrippled) noise. The results suggest that for temporal changes in the spectral peaks of rippled noise, listeners cannot monitor the output of a single (or small number of) auditory channel(s) (critical bands), or that the mechanism used to extract the perceptual information from these stimuli is slow. Temporal variations in the spectral properties of rippled noise may relate to temporal changes in the repetition pitch of complex sounds, the temporal properties of the coloration added to sound in a reverberant environment, and the nature of spectral peak changes such as those that occur in speech-formant transitions. The results are relevant to the general issue of the auditory system's ability to extract information from a complex spectral profile.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics