No Need for Templates in the Auditory Enhancement Effect.

Samuele Carcagno, Catherine Semal, Laurent Demany
PLoS ONE. 2013-06-27; 8(6): e67874
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067874

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1. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 27;8(6):e67874. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067874. Print 2013.

No Need for Templates in the Auditory Enhancement Effect.

Carcagno S(1), Semal C, Demany L.

Author information:
(1)Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d’Aquitaine, Université
de Bordeaux and CNRS, Bordeaux, France.

The audibility of a target tone in a multitone background masker is enhanced by
the presentation of a precursor sound consisting of the masker alone. There is
evidence that precursor-induced neural adaptation plays a role in this perceptual
enhancement. However, the precursor may also be strategically used by listeners
as a spectral template of the following masker to better segregate it from the
target. In the present study, we tested this hypothesis by measuring the
audibility of a target tone in a multitone masker after the presentation of
precursors which, in some conditions, were made dissimilar to the masker by
gating their components asynchronously. The precursor and the following sound
were presented either to the same ear or to opposite ears. In either case, we
found no significant difference in the amount of enhancement produced by
synchronous and asynchronous precursors. In a second experiment, listeners had to
judge whether a synchronous multitone complex contained exactly the same tones as
a preceding precursor complex or had one tone less. In this experiment, listeners
performed significantly better with synchronous than with asynchronous
precursors, showing that asynchronous precursors were poorer perceptual templates
of the synchronous multitone complexes. Overall, our findings indicate that
precursor-induced auditory enhancement cannot be fully explained by the strategic
use of the precursor as a template of the following masker. Our results are
consistent with an explanation of enhancement based on selective neural
adaptation taking place at a central locus of the auditory system.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067874
PMCID: PMC3694896
PMID: 23826348 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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