Masker laterality and cueing in forward-masked intensity discrimination

Robert S. Schlauch, Bart R. Clement, Dennis T. Ries, Jeffrey J. DiGiovanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Forward-masked intensity discrimination was measured as a function of level in experiments designed to reveal insights into the mechanism(s) underlying the midlevel elevation of the Weber fraction. The standard and maskers were 1.0-kHz tones that were separated by 100 ms. Performance was measured for listeners with normal hearing using an adaptive procedure. In experiment 1, intensity discrimination was measured in the presence of an ipsilateral masker (80 dB SPL), a contralateral masker (93 dB SPL), and a binaural (dichotic) masker produced by combining the ipsilateral and contralateral maskers. Listeners perceived only the contralateral masker in the binaural-masker condition. The contralateral masker produced a small midlevel elevation of the Weber fraction. The ipsilateral masker and the binaural masker produced a large, midlevel elevation of the Weber fraction. Experiment 2 found that a two-tone masker resulted in a reduction (improvement) in the Weber fraction for some conditions, but the midlevel elevation remained for all subjects in this cue-tone condition. Experiment 3 demonstrated that cross talk could not account for all of the masking observed with contralateral maskers. Taken together, the results suggest that a single complex mechanism or multiple mechanisms may be responsible for the masking seen in these experiments. On the basis of the cueing results, it is concluded that a portion of the masking is due to cognitive factors; however, a sensory mechanism cannot be ruled out for the remaining portion, based on the results of these experiments. Finally, a small but significant amount of masking due to contralateral maskers places the mechanism for this outcome central to the cochlear nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-828
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume105
Issue number2 I
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

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