An auditory illusion

  title={An auditory illusion},
  author={Diana Deutsch},
  • D. Deutsch
  • Published 1 April 1974
  • Physics, Biology
  • Nature
I HERE report a novel and striking auditory illusion, which provides a paradox for theories of pitch perception and auditory localisation1,2; and which varies in correlation with the handedness of the listener. The stimulus configuration which produced the illusion consisted of a sequence of tones, alternating in pitch between 400 Hz and 800 Hz (Fig. 1a). Each tone lasted 250 ms, with no gap between tones. The sequence was presented at equal amplitude to both ears simultaneously; however, when… 
Auditory cortex activation associated with octave illusion
It is suggested that the perceived locations of the sounds in the octave illusion follow the N100m lateralization, and the percept is contributed by streaming by the ear.
Further study of an auditory illusion
Efron and Yund systematically varied the relative intensity of the two tones and found that the location of the perceived sound depended critically on this variation, always being heard towards the side receiving the more intense sound.
Neural mechanisms of the octave illusion: electrophysiological evidence for central origin
The illusion-mimicking tones elicited the mismatch negativity (MMN), a change-specific ERP component with origin in the auditory cortex, indicates that the stimuli giving rise to the octave illusion are encoded according to their physical rather than perceptual properties.
The octave illusion revisited: suppression or fusion between ears?
The octave illusion may arise from an interaction between dichotic fusion and binaural diplacusis rather than from suppression as proposed by Deutsch.
An auditory illusion reveals the role of streaming in the temporal misallocation of perceptual objects
This study investigates the neural correlates and processes underlying the ambiguous percept produced by a stimulus similar to Deutsch's ‘octave illusion’, finding that the illusion of alternating tones arises from the synchronous tone pairs across ears rather than sequential tones in one ear.
Separate "what" and "where" decision mechanisms in processing a dichotic tonal sequence.
  • D. Deutsch, P. L. Roll
  • Biology, Psychology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance
  • 1976
Each tone appeared to be localized in the ear receiving the higher frequency, regardless of which ear was followed for pitch and regardless of whether the higher or lower frequency was in fact perceived.
Octave illusion elicited by overlapping narrowband noises.
The present study examined whether the octave or Deutsch illusion can be elicited by aperiodic signals consisting of low-frequency band-pass filtered noises with overlapping spectra and perceived an auditory illusion in terms of a dominant ear for pitch and lateralization by frequency.
Does the octave illusion evoke the interaural tempo illusion?
The reaction times showed that the time intervals between the subjectively alternating tones in the octave illusion were not longer than the intervals between nonalternating tones, which means that the output of the “what-where” mechanism is not operated on by the interaural tempo processor.
Neural correlates of auditory scale illusion


Multistability in perception.
Representations of the two ears at the auditory cortex.
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  • 1964
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periodicity detection in hearing (Sijthoff
  • periodicity detection in hearing (Sijthoff
  • 1970
Acta Otolaryngol
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