Detectability of a tonal signal added to a tonal masker increases with increasing duration ("temporal integration"), up to some maximum duration. Initially assumed to be some form of energy integration over time, this phenomenon is now often described as the result of a statistical "multiple looks" process. For continuous maskers, listeners may also use a mechanism sensitive to changes in stimulus intensity, possibly a result of inherent sensitivity to amplitude modulation (AM). In order to examine this hypothesis, change detection was investigated in the presence of AM maskers presented at either the same carrier frequency as the target signal or at a distant frequency. The results are compatible with the hypothesis that listeners detect intensity increments by using change-detection mechanisms (modeled here as the outputs of a bank of modulation filters) sensitive to envelope modulation at both low (4-16 Hz) and high (around 100 Hz) rates. AM masking occurred even when the masker was at a carrier frequency more than two octaves above that of the signal to be detected. This finding is also compatible with the hypothesis that similar mechanisms underlie sensitivity to AM (where across-frequency masking is commonly shown) and detection of intensity increments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics