Influence of spatial and temporal coding on auditory gap detection

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This study investigated the effect on gap detection of perceptual channels, hypothesized to be tuned to spatial location or fundamental frequency (f0). Thresholds were measured for the detection of a silent temporal gap between two markers. In the first experiment, the markers were broadband noise, presented either binaurally or monaurally. In the binaural conditions, the markers were either diotic, or had a 640-μs interaural time difference (ITD) or a 12-dB interaural level difference (ILD). Reversing the ITD across the two markers had no effect on gap detection relative to the diotic condition. Reversing the ILD across the two markers produced a marked deterioration in performance. However, the same deterioration was observed in the monaural conditions when a 12-dB level difference was introduced between the two markers. The results provide no evidence for the role of spatially tuned neural channels in gap detection. In the second experiment, the markers were harmonic tone complexes, filtered to contain only high, unresolved harmonics. Using complexes with a fixed spectral envelope, where the f0 (of 140 or 350 Hz) was different for the two markers, produced a deterioration in performance, relative to conditions where the f0 remained the same. A larger deterioration was observed when the two markers occupied different spectral regions but had the same f0. This supports the idea that peripheral coding is dominant in determining gap-detection thresholds when the two markers differ along any physical dimension. Higher-order neural coding mechanisms of f0 and spatial location seem to play a smaller role and no role, respectively. (C) 2000 Acoustical Society of America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2215-2223
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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