The role of the envelope in processing iterated rippled noise

William A. Yost, Roy Patterson, Stanley Sheft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Iterated rippled noise (IRN) is generated by a cascade of delay and add (the gain after the delay is 1.0) or delay and subtract (the gain is -1.0) operations. The delay and add/subtract operations impart a spectral ripple and a temporal regularity to the noise. The waveform fine structure is different in these two conditions, but the envelope can be extremely similar. Four experiments were used to determine conditions in which the processing of IRN stimuli might be mediated by the waveform fine structure or by the envelope. In experiments 1 and 3 listeners discriminated among three stimuli in a single-interval task: IRN stimuli generated with the delay and add operations (g= 1.0), IRN stimuli generated using the delay and subtract operations (g = - 1.0), and a flat-spectrum noise stimulus. In experiment 2 the listeners were presented two IRN stimuli that differed in delay (4 vs 6 ms) and a flat-spectrum noise stimulus that was not an IRN stimulus. In experiments 1 and 2 both the envelope and waveform fine structure contained the spectral ripple and temporal regularity. In experiment 3 only the envelope had this spectral and temporal structure. In all experiments discrimination was determined as a function of high-pass filtering the stimuli, and listeners could discriminate between the two IRN stimuli up to frequency regions as high as 4000-6000 Hz. Listeners could discriminate the IRN stimuli from the flat-spectrum noise stimulus at even higher frequencies (as high as 8000 Hz), but these discriminations did not appear tO depend on the pitch of the IRN stimuli. A control experiment (fourth experiment) suggests that IRN discriminations in high-frequency regions are probably not due entirely to low-frequency nonlinear distortion products. The results of the paper imply that pitch processing of IRN stimuli is based on the waveform fine structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2349-2361
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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