Tuning properties of the auditory frequency-shift detectors.

Laurent Demany, Daniel Pressnitzer, Catherine Semal
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2009-09-01; 126(3): 1342-1348
DOI: 10.1121/1.3179675

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1. J Acoust Soc Am. 2009 Sep;126(3):1342-8. doi: 10.1121/1.3179675.

Tuning properties of the auditory frequency-shift detectors.

Demany L(1), Pressnitzer D, Semal C.

Author information:
(1)Laboratoire Mouvement, Adaptation, Cognition (UMR CNRS 5227), Universite de
Bordeaux, 146 Rue Leo Saignat, Bordeaux, France.

Demany and Ramos [(2005). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 117, 833-841] found that it is
possible to hear an upward or downward pitch change between two successive pure
tones differing in frequency even when the first tone is informationally masked
by other tones, preventing a conscious perception of its pitch. This provides
evidence for the existence of automatic frequency-shift detectors (FSDs) in the
auditory system. The present study was intended to estimate the magnitude of the
frequency shifts optimally detected by the FSDs. Listeners were presented with
sound sequences consisting of (1) a 300-ms or 100-ms random “chord” of
synchronous pure tones, separated by constant intervals of either 650 cents or
1000 cents; (2) an interstimulus interval (ISI) varying from 100 to 900 ms; (3) a
single pure tone at a variable frequency distance (Delta) from a randomly
selected component of the chord. The task was to indicate if the final pure tone
was higher or lower than the nearest component of the chord. Irrespective of the
chord’s properties and of the ISI, performance was best when Delta was equal to
about 120 cents (1/10 octave). Therefore, this interval seems to be the frequency
shift optimally detected by the FSDs.

DOI: 10.1121/1.3179675
PMID: 19739748 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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