Adaptation of suppression as an explanation of enhancement effects

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Delaying the onset of a signal relative to the onset of a simultaneous notched masker often improves the ability of subjects to “hear out” the signal at both threshold and suprathreshold levels. Viemeister and Bacon [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 71, 1502–1507 (1982)] suggested that such signal-enhancement effects might be attributable to adaptation of the suppression directed from the masker to the signal, thereby releasing the signal from suppression. In support of their hypothesis, Viemeister and Bacon reported that a masker, preceded by an enhancer having no component at the signal frequency, produced more forward masking than did the masker by itself. Here the masker enhancement described by Viemeister and Bacon, signal enhancement, and two-tone suppression were measured in the same six subjects. Parametric manipulations of the masker-enhancement stimulus produced results similar to those previously reported for parallel investigations of signal enhancement, indicating that the two types of enhancement are closely related effects. Although the present data reveal an inverse relationship between the amounts of suppression and enhancement, suggesting that the two processes may be interrelated, no support was obtained for the hypothesis that adaptation of suppression can account for enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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