Attention, Awareness, and the Perception of Auditory Scenes
Roberts et al. [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 112, 2074-2085 (2002)] demonstrated that sequential stream segregation occurs with stimuli that differ only in phase spectrum. We investigated if this was partly due to differences in effective excitation level. Stimuli were harmonic complexes with a 100 Hz fundamental, 1250-2500 Hz passband, and cosine, alternating, or random component phase. In experiment 1, the complex tones were used as forward maskers of 20-ms probe tones at 1000, 1250, 1650, 2050, 2500, and 3000 Hz. While there was no significant difference in the masking produced by the cosine- and alternating-phase stimuli, the random-phase stimulus produced significantly greater masking, equivalent to a difference in overall effective excitation level of 12.6 dB. Experiments 2 and 3 used the asynchrony detection and subjective streaming tasks of Roberts et al. Successive stimuli had identical phase, but differed in level by 0, 1, 3, 5, 10, or 15 dB. Stream segregation increased once the level difference reached 5 dB. While some of the stream segregation observed by Roberts et al. may have been due to a difference in effective excitation level, this does not account for the stream segregation between cosine- and alternating-phase stimuli.