Effect of musical training on static and dynamic measures of spectral-pattern discrimination

Stanley Sheft*, Kirsten Smayda, Valeriy Shafiro, W. Todd Maddox, Bharath Chandrasekaran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Both behavioral and physiological studies have demonstrated enhanced processing of speech in challenging listening environments attributable to musical training. The relationship, however, of this benefit to auditory abilities as assessed by psychoacoustic measures remains unclear. Using tasks previously shown to relate to speech-in-noise perception, the present study evaluated discrimination ability for static and dynamic spectral patterns by 49 listeners grouped as either musicians or nonmusicians. The two static conditions measured the ability to detect a change in the phase of a logarithmic sinusoidal spectral ripple of wideband noise with ripple densities of 1.5 and 3.0 cycles per octave chosen to emphasize either timbre or pitch distinctions, respectively. The dynamic conditions assessed temporal-pattern discrimination of 1-kHz pure tones frequency modulated by different lowpass noise samples with thresholds estimated in terms of either stimulus duration or signal-to-noise ratio. Musicians performed significantly better than nonmusicians on all four tasks. Discriminant analysis showed that group membership was correctly predicted for 88% of the listeners with the structure coefficient of each measure greater than 0.51. Results suggest that enhanced processing of static and dynamic spectral patterns defined by low-rate modulation may contribute to the relationship between musical training and speech-in-noise perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number050025
JournalProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
StatePublished - 2013
Event21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Jun 2 2013Jun 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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