The pulse-train auditory aftereffect and the perception of rapid amplitude modulations

Alexander Gutschalk, Christophe Micheyl, Andrew J. Oxenham

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    4 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Prolonged listening to a pulse train with repetition rates around 100 Hz induces a striking aftereffect, whereby subsequently presented sounds are heard with an unusually "metallic" timbre [Rosenblith, Science 106, 333-335 (1947)]. The mechanisms responsible for this auditory aftereffect are currently unknown. Whether the aftereffect is related to an alteration of the perception of temporal envelope fluctuations was evaluated. Detection thresholds for sinusoidal amplitude modulation (AM) imposed onto noise-burst carriers were measured for different AM frequencies (50-500 Hz), following the continuous presentation of a periodic pulse train, a temporally jittered pulse train, or an unmodulated noise. AM detection thresholds for AM frequencies of 100 Hz and above were significantly elevated compared to thresholds in quiet, following the presentation of the pulse-train inducers, and both induced a subjective auditory aftereffect. Unmodulated noise, which produced no audible aftereffect, left AM detection thresholds unchanged. Additional experiments revealed that, like the Rosenblith aftereffect, the effect on AM thresholds does not transfer across ears, is not eliminated by protracted training, and can last several tens of seconds. The results suggest that the Rosenblith aftereffect is related to a temporary alteration in the perception of fast temporal envelope fluctuations in sounds.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)935-945
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Volume123
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 11 2008

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