The effect of masker level uncertainty on intensity discrimination.

  • Emily E Buss
  • Published 2008 in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America


Thresholds were measured for detection of an increment in level of a 60-dB SPL target tone at 1 kHz, either in quiet or in the presence of maskers at 0.5 and 2 kHz. Interval-by-interval level rove applied independently to remote masker tones substantially elevated thresholds compared to intensity discrimination in quiet, an effect on the order of 10+dB [10 log(DeltaII)]. Asynchronous onset and stimulus envelope mismatches across frequency reduced but did not eliminate masking. A preinterval cue to signal frequency had no effect, but cuing masker frequency reduced thresholds, whether or not masker level was also cued. About 1 to 2 dB of threshold elevation in these conditions can be attributed to energetic masking. Decreasing the overall presentation level and increasing masker separation essentially eliminates energetic masking; under these conditions masker level rove elevates thresholds by approximately 7 dB when the target and masker tones are gated synchronously. This masking persists even when the flanking masker tones are presented contralateral to the target. Results suggest that observers tend to listen synthetically, even in conditions when this strategy reduces sensitivity to the intensity increment.

DOI: 10.1121/1.2812578

Cite this paper

@article{Buss2008TheEO, title={The effect of masker level uncertainty on intensity discrimination.}, author={Emily E Buss}, journal={The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America}, year={2008}, volume={123 1}, pages={254-64} }