Binaural interference and auditory grouping

Virginia Best, Frederick J. Gallun, Simon Carlile, Barbara G. Shinn-Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The phenomenon of binaural interference, where binaural judgments of a high-frequency target stimulus are disrupted by the presence of a simultaneous low-frequency interferer, can largely be explained using principles of auditory grouping and segregation. Evidence for this relationship comes from a number of previous studies showing that the manipulation of simultaneous grouping cues such as harmonicity and onset synchrony can influence the strength of the phenomenon. In this study, it is shown that sequential grouping cues can also influence whether binaural interference occurs. Subjects indicated the lateral position of a high-frequency sinusoidally amplitude-modulated (SAM) tone containing an interaural time difference. Perceived lateral positions were reduced by the presence of a simultaneous diotic low-frequency SAM tone, but were largely restored when the interferer was "captured" in a stream of identical tones. A control condition confirmed that the effect was not due to peripheral adaptation. The data lend further support to the idea that binaural interference is affected by processes related to the perceptual organization of auditory information. Modifications to existing grouping-based models are proposed that may help account for binaural interference effects more successfully.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1070-1076
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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