Temporal decline of masking and comodulation detection differences

Dennis McFadden, Beverly A. Wriaht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Comodulation detection differences (CDDs) were studied using flanking bands that were either gated simultaneously with the signal band (burst) or gated at varying times prior to signal onset (fringed). Used for these experiments were a signal band centered at 1250 Hz and four flanking bands centered at 450, 850, 1650, and 2050 Hz; all bands were 100 Hz wide. In different conditions, the temporal envelope of the signal band was either the same as (correlated), or different from (uncorrelated), the common envelope of the four flanking bands, or the temporal envelopes of all of the bands were different (all-uncorrelated). For 8 of the 13 listeners, signal detectability improved by as much as 25 dB as the temporal fringe of the flanking bands was increased from 5 to about 700 ms. This temporal decline of masking was similar, but not identical, for the correlated, uncorrelated, and all-uncorrelated conditions. Results of this sort are reminiscent of several related findings that have been attributed to auditory adaptation or enhancement, or to a temporally developing critical-band filter. The other 5 of the 13 listeners were generally more sensitive than the majority, and they showed little or no improvement in detectability as fringe duration was varied. Large individual differences of this sort are not uncommon in the adaptation and comodulation literatures. As signal duration was changed from 50 to 240 ms, temporal integration was less in the correlated condition than in the uncorrelated condition, thereby producing a larger CDD with the longer signal. When the fringe followed the observation interval instead of preceding it, the results were equivocal because detectability improved for the majority of subjects and worsened for the minority. In follow-up experiments, different subsets of these four flanking bands were used. When temporal gaps of varying duration were inserted into the flanking band(s) immediately prior to the observation intervals, it was found that a temporal gap as long as 355 ms was not sufficient to reset the mechanisms underlying the temporal decline of masking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-724
Number of pages14
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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