Differences in spatial cues, including interaural time differences (ITDs), interaural level differences (ILDs) and spectral cues, can lead to stream segregation of alternating noise bursts. It is unknown how effective such cues are for streaming sounds with realistic spectro-temporal variations. In particular, it is not known whether the high-frequency spectral cues associated with elevation remain sufficiently robust under such conditions. To answer these questions, sequences of consonant-vowel tokens were generated and filtered by non-individualized head-related transfer functions to simulate the cues associated with different positions in the horizontal and median planes. A discrimination task showed that listeners could discriminate changes in interaural cues both when the stimulus remained constant and when it varied between presentations. However, discrimination of changes in spectral cues was much poorer in the presence of stimulus variability. A streaming task, based on the detection of repeated syllables in the presence of interfering syllables, revealed that listeners can use both interaural and spectral cues to segregate alternating syllable sequences, despite the large spectro-temporal differences between stimuli. However, only the full complement of spatial cues (ILDs, ITDs, and spectral cues) resulted in obligatory streaming in a task that encouraged listeners to integrate the tokens into a single stream.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant No. R01 DC007657 (A.J.O.) and by LabEX