Influence of fine structure and envelope variability on gap-duration discrimination thresholds

S. Münkner, A.G. Kohlrausch, D. Püschel

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The goal of the study was to investigate whether the temporal resolution of the auditory system is influenced by the variability of the stimulus envelope. To do so, the ability to detect an increment in the duration of a temporal gap (the test gap) was measured with an adaptive 3-IFC procedure. The stimulus consisted of a series of 10-ms broadband noise pulses. The pulses were separated by a 10-ms silent period, or temporal gap. In the main experiments, the test gap was either the first or the last gap in a series of 21 pulses. The variability in the stimulus' envelope was controlled directly by applying a jitter to the onset of the individual pulses in the pulse trains. Additionally, the stimuli were presented with different fine structure variabilities which also induced differences in the variability of the envelope. The gap-discrimination thresholds for the jittered noise pulse trains showed strong dependence on the amount of jitter as long as the jitter was applied randomly leading to a different pattern for every stimulus. When the jitter was applied as a frozen jitter resulting in a constant pattern of pulses, the thresholds did not increase significantly. A similar result was obtained for the different fine structure variabilities. A frozen fine structure led to thresholds about 1 ms lower than those obtained with random noise stimuli. A measure for the envelope variability was provided by calculating the variances of the envelope spectrum of the gammatone-filtered stimuli. The results of the calculations show a qualitative correspondence to the experimental results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3126-3137
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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