Backward detection and discrimination unmasking : suppression or cueing?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Russell Dwight Shilling (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
David Soderquist

Abstract: Previous research has shown the threshold for a masked signal may decrease if another auditory stimulus, a suppressor, is added to the masker. This improvement in signal threshold is called unmasking. The experiments outlined in this paper were designed to examine possible underlying mechanisms responsible for unmasking. In particular, the experiments attempted to eliminate cueing effects which have plagued previous detection unmasking experiments. The rationale was that if cueing effects could be eliminated, the presence or absence of underlying physiological suppressive mechanisms could be inferred. Because the same set of cues exists in each observation interval of a discrimination task, it was reasoned that a backward discrimination unmasking task would not be susceptible to the cueing effects found in detection unmasking experiments. Backward discrimination unmasking was measured separately for both pitch and intensity discrimination. There were no observed unmasking effects in the backward pitch discrimination unmasking experiment. The magnitude of the unmasking effects observed in the backward intensity discrimination unmasking experiment were far less than in the corresponding detection unmasking study. The intensity discrimination experiment yielded a maximum unmasking value of approximately 5 dB as compared to the 26 dB observed in the detection experiment.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1992
Signal detection (Psychology)
Masking (Psychology)
Auditory perception

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