Effects of temporal stimulus properties on the perception of across-frequency asynchrony

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The role of temporal stimulus parameters in the perception of across-frequency synchrony and asynchrony was investigated using pairs of 500-ms tones consisting of a 250-Hz tone and a tone with a higher frequency of 1, 2, 4, or 6 kHz. Subjective judgments suggested veridical perception of across-frequency synchrony but with greater sensitivity to changes in asynchrony for pairs in which the lower-frequency tone was leading than for pairs in which it was lagging. Consistent with the subjective judgments, thresholds for the detection of asynchrony measured in a three-alternative forced-choice task were lower when the signal interval contained a pair with the low-frequency tone leading than a pair with a high-frequency tone leading. A similar asymmetry was observed for asynchrony discrimination when the standard asynchrony was relatively small (≤20 ms) but not for larger standard asynchronies. Independent manipulation of onset and offset ramp durations indicated a dominant role of onsets in the perception of across-frequency asynchrony. A physiologically inspired model, involving broadly tuned monaural coincidence detectors that receive inputs from frequency-selective onset detectors, was able to accurately reproduce the asymmetric distributions of synchrony judgments. The model provides testable predictions for future physiological investigations of responses to broadband stimuli with across-frequency delays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-997
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013

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