An evaluation of psychophysical models of auditory change perception.

Christophe Micheyl, Christian Kaernbach, Laurent Demany
Psychological Review. 2008-01-01; 115(4): 1069-1083
DOI: 10.1037/a0013572

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1. Psychol Rev. 2008 Oct;115(4):1069-83. doi: 10.1037/a0013572.

An evaluation of psychophysical models of auditory change perception.

Micheyl C(1), Kaernbach C, Demany L.

Author information:
(1)Auditory Perception and Cognition Laboratory, Department of Psychology,
University of Minnesota, Twin City Campus, USA.

In many psychophysical experiments, the participant’s task is to detect small
changes along a given stimulus dimension or to identify the direction (e.g.,
upward vs. downward) of such changes. The results of these experiments are
traditionally analyzed with a constant-variance Gaussian (CVG) model or a
high-threshold (HT) model. Here, the authors demonstrate that for changes along
three basic sound dimensions (frequency, intensity, and amplitude-modulation
rate), such models cannot account for the observed relationship between detection
thresholds and direction-identification thresholds. It is shown that two
alternative models can account for this relationship. One of them is based on the
idea of sensory quanta; the other assumes that small changes are detected on the
basis of Poisson processes with low means. The predictions of these two models
are then compared against receiver operating characteristics (ROCs) for the
detection of changes in sound intensity. It is concluded that human listeners’
perception of small and unidimensional acoustic changes is better described by a
discrete-state Poisson model than by the more commonly used CVG model or by the
less favored HT and quantum models.

DOI: 10.1037/a0013572
PMCID: PMC2697123
PMID: 18954215 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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