Amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM) are inherent components of most natural sounds. The ability to detect these modulations, considered critical for normal auditory and speech perception, improves over the course of development. However, the extent to which the development of AM and FM detection skills follow different trajectories, and therefore can be attributed to the maturation of separate processes, remains unclear. Here we explored the relationship between the developmental trajectories for the detection of sinusoidal AM and FM in a cross-sectional design employing children aged 8-10 and 11-12 years and adults. For FM of tonal carriers, both average performance (mean) and performance consistency (within-listener standard deviation) were adult-like in the 8-10 y/o. In contrast, in the same listeners, average performance for AM of wideband noise carriers was still not adult-like in the 11-12 y/o, though performance consistency was already mature in the 8-10 y/o. Among the children there were no significant correlations for either measure between the degrees of maturity for AM and FM detection. These differences in developmental trajectory between the two modulation cues and between average detection thresholds and performance consistency suggest that at least partially distinct processes may underlie the development of AM and FM detection as well as the abilities to detect modulation and to do so consistently.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems