Psychoacoustic Consequences of Compression in the Peripheral Auditory System

Brian C.J. Moore, Andrew J. Oxenham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Input-output functions on the basilar membrane of the cochlea show a strong compressive nonlinearity at midrange levels for frequencies close to the characteristic frequency of a given place. This article shows how many different phenomena can be explained as consequences of this nonlinearity, including the "excess" masking produced when 2 nonsimultaneous maskers are combined, the nonlinear growth of forward masking with masker level, the influence of component phase on the effectiveness of complex forward maskers, changes in the ability to detect increments and decrements with level temporal integration, and the influence of component phase and level on the perception of vowellike sounds. Cochlear hearing loss causes basilar-membrane responses to become more linear. This can account for loudness recruitment, linear additivity of nonsimultaneous masking, linear growth of forward masking, reduced temporal resolution for sounds with fluctuating envelopes, and reduced temporal integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-124
Number of pages17
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


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