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J Acoust Soc Am. 2011 Mar;129(3):1509-21. doi: 10.1121/1.3531836.

Failure of the precedence effect with a noise-band vocoder.

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  • 1Auditory Perception Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720-1650, USA.


The precedence effect (PE) describes the ability to localize a direct, leading sound correctly when its delayed copy (lag) is present, though not separately audible. The relative contribution of binaural cues in the temporal fine structure (TFS) of lead-lag signals was compared to that of interaural level differences (ILDs) and interaural time differences (ITDs) carried in the envelope. In a localization dominance paradigm participants indicated the spatial location of lead-lag stimuli processed with a binaural noise-band vocoder whose noise carriers introduced random TFS. The PE appeared for noise bursts of 10 ms duration, indicating dominance of envelope information. However, for three test words the PE often failed even at short lead-lag delays, producing two images, one toward the lead and one toward the lag. When interaural correlation in the carrier was increased, the images appeared more centered, but often remained split. Although previous studies suggest dominance of TFS cues, no image is lateralized in accord with the ITD in the TFS. An interpretation in the context of auditory scene analysis is proposed: By replacing the TFS with that of noise the auditory system loses the ability to fuse lead and lag into one object, and thus to show the PE.

© 2011 Acoustical Society of America

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