A perceptual learning investigation of the pitch elicited by amplitude-modulated noise

Matthew B. Fitzgerald*, Beverly A. Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Noise that is amplitude modulated at rates ranging from 40 to 850 Hz can elicit a sensation of pitch. Here, the processing of this temporally based pitch was investigated using a perceptual-learning paradigm. Nine listeners were trained (1 hour per day for 6-8 days) to discriminate a standard rate of sinusoidal amplitude modulation (SAM) from a faster rate in a single condition (150 Hz SAM rate, 5 kHz low-pass carrier). All trained listeners improved significantly on that condition. These trained listeners subsequently showed no more improvement than nine untrained controls on pure-tone and rippled-noise discrimination with the same pitch, and on SAM-rate discrimination with a 30 Hz rate, although they did show some improvement with a 300 Hz rate. In addition, most trained, but not control, listeners were worse at detecting SAM at 150 Hz after, compared to before training. These results indicate that listeners can learn to improve their ability to discriminate SAM rate with multiple-hour training and that the mechanism that is modified by learning encodes (1) the pitch of SAM noise but not that of pure tones and rippled noise, (2) different SAM rates separately, and (3) differences in SAM rate more effectively than cues for SAM detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3794-3803
Number of pages10
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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