The effect of carrier level on tuning in modulation masking was investigated for noise and tonal carriers. Bandwidths of the modulation filters, estimated from the masked detection thresholds using an envelope power spectrum model, were independent of level for the noise carrier but seemed to decrease with increasing level for the tonal carrier. However, the apparently sharper tuning could be explained by increased modulation sensitivity and modulation dynamic range with increasing level rather than improved modulation-frequency selectivity. Consistent with this interpretation, the addition of a high-pass noise with a level adjusted to maintain the same threshold for the detection of the signal modulation for each carrier level used eliminated the effect of level on tuning. Overall, modulation filters estimated from psychophysical data do not depend on level in contrast to the modulation transfer functions obtained from neural recordings in the inferior colliculus in physiological studies. The results highlight differences between the characteristics of modulation processing obtained from neural data and perception. The discrepancies indicate the need for further investigation into physiological correlates of tuning in modulation processing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was supported by the NIH Grant No. DC006804. The author thanks Andrew Oxenham and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the earlier version of the manuscript.