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J Acoust Soc Am. 2011 Oct;130(4):2179-85. doi: 10.1121/1.3631665.

Ear and pitch segregation in Deutsch's octave illusion persist following switch from stimulus alternation to repetition.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, G. d'Annunzio University of Chieti and Pescara, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100, Chieti Scalo, Italy.


Deutsch's octave illusion occurs when two tones that are spaced an octave apart are repeatedly presented in alternation; the sequence is presented to both ears simultaneously but offset by one tone, so that two dichotic chords are repeatedly presented in alternation. The most common illusory percept consists of an intermittent high tone in one ear alternating with an intermittent low tone in the other ear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether, once the illusory percept has emerged, the illusion will persist when the original sequence is followed by another sequence consisting of the repeated presentation of one of the two dichotic chords. Forty naïve subjects were tested with stimuli consisting first of a priming sequence containing dichotic octaves alternating between ears followed immediately by a test sequence consisting of a single dichotic octave presented repeatedly. The durations of the priming and test sequences were manipulated. The findings showed that the illusory percept is maintained after the switch from alternation to repetition and that the relative length of the priming and test sequences has a negligible influence on the persistence of the illusory percept.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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