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J Acoust Soc Am. 2000 Sep;108(3 Pt 1):1181-96.

Characterizing frequency selectivity for envelope fluctuations.

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Carl von Ossietzky Universit├Ąt Oldenburg, AG Medizinische Physik, Germany.


Three experimental paradigms were used to specify the auditory system's frequency selectivity for amplitude modulation (AM). In the first experiment, masked-threshold patterns were obtained for signal-modulation frequencies of 4, 16, 64, and 256 Hz in the presence of a half-octave-wide modulation masker, both applied to the same noise carrier with a bandwidth ranging from 1 to 4 kHz. In the second experiment, psychophysical tuning curves (PTCs) were obtained for signal-modulation frequencies of 16 and 64 Hz imposed on a noise carrier as in the first experiment. In the third experiment, masked thresholds for signal-modulation frequencies of 8, 16, 32, and 64 Hz were obtained according to the "classical" band-widening paradigm, where the bandwidth of the modulation masker ranged from 1/8 to 4 octaves, geometrically centered on the signal frequency. The first two experiments allowed a direct derivation of the shape of the modulation filters while the latter paradigm only provided an indirect estimate of the filter bandwidth. Thresholds from the experiments were predicted on the basis of an envelope power-spectrum model (EPSM) which integrates the envelope power of the modulation masker in the passband of a modulation filter tuned to the signal-modulation frequency. The Q-value of second-order bandpass modulation filters was fitted to the masking patterns from the first experiment using a least-squares algorithm. Q-values of about 1 for frequencies up to 64 Hz suggest an even weaker selectivity for modulation than assumed in earlier studies. The same model also accounted reasonably well for the shape of the temporal modulation transfer function (TMTF) obtained for carrier bandwidths in the range from 1 to 6000 Hz. Peripheral filtering and effects of peripheral compression were also investigated using a multi-channel version of the model. Waveform compression did not influence the simulated results. Peripheral bandpass filtering only influenced thresholds for high modulation frequencies when signal information was strongly attenuated by the transfer function of the peripheral filters.

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