Informational masking for simultaneous nonspeech stimuli: Psychometric functions for fixed and randomly mixed maskers

Nathaniel I. Durlach, Christine R. Mason, Frederick J. Gallun, Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, H. Steven Colburn, Gerald Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Sensitivity d′ and response bias β were measured as a function of target level for the detection of a 1000-Hz tone in multitone maskers using a one interval, two-alternative forced-choice (1I-2AFC) paradigm. Ten such maskers, each with eight randomly selected components in the region 200-5000 Hz, with 800-1250 Hz excluded to form a protected zone, were presented under two conditions: the fixed condition, in which the same eight-component masker is used throughout an experimental run, and the random condition, in which an eight-component masker is chosen randomly trial-to-trial from the given set of ten such maskers. Differences between the results obtained with these two conditions help characterize the listener's susceptibility to informational masking (IM). The d′ results show great intersubject variability, but can be reasonably well fit by simple energy-detector models in which internal noise and filter bandwidth are used as fitting parameters. In contrast, the β results are not well fit by these models. In addition to presentation of new data and its relation to energy-detector models, this paper provides comments on a variety of issues, problems, and research needs in the IM area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2482-2497
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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