Comodulation masking release in a forward-masking paradigm

Dennis McFadden, Beverly A. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Waveforms that yield comodulation masking release (CMR) when they are presented simultaneously with a signal were used in a standard forward-masking procedure. The signal was a 25-ms sample of a 2500-Hz tone. The masker was a band of noise centered at 2500 Hz, 100 Hz in width, and 200 ms in duration. Presented with the masker were two or four cue bands, each 100 Hz wide and centered at various distances from the masker band. These cue bands either all had the same temporal envelope as the masker band (correlated condition) or their common envelope was different from that of the masker band (uncorrelated condition). In the initial experiments, (1) detectability of the tonal signal was 7-18 dB better when the masker band was accompanied by cue bands than when it was not-an effect that would be expected from past research on lateral suppression-but further, (2) the signal was about 3 dB more detectable in the correlated conditions than in the uncorrelated conditions. In follow-up experiments, these CMR-like differences between the correlated and uncorrelated conditions were substantially reduced (although not eliminated) by presenting a contralateral, wideband noise that was gated synchronously with the masker and/or cue bands. The implications are that the initial results were attributable in part to the “confusion effects” known to exist in certain temporal-masking situations, and that listeners are able to obtain greater information about the temporal extent of a masker band from correlated cue bands than from uncorrelated bands. It is suggested that the small CMR-like difference that did remain in the face of controls for confusion may be attributable to a form of dynamic lateral suppression, where the magnitude of suppression covaries perfectly with the magnitude of the envelope of the narrowband masker. It appears, then, that no explanations beyond confusion and lateral suppression are necessary to account for the reported CMR-like effects in forward masking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1615-1620
Number of pages6
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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