Uncertainty about the correlation among temporal envelopes in two comodulation tasks

Beverly A. Wright, Dennis McFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The threshold of a 1250-Hz tonal signal was measured in the presence of five noise bands (each 50 Hz wide, centered at 850, 1050, 1250, 1450, and 1650 Hz) under five conditions of uncertainty about the waveform type (“correlated” or “uncorrelated”), and/or the specific waveform sample to be presented. The waveform type was correlated when the temporal envelopes of all of the noise bands were the same, and was uncorrelated when the temporal envelope of the band centered on the signal differed from the common envelope of the other bands. At the low-uncertainty end of the continuum of conditions, the same waveform type was presented throughout an entire block of trials, and, in addition, the same waveform sample was presented on the two observation intervals of a single trial (but changed across trials). At the high-uncertainty end of the continuum, both the waveform type and the waveform sample were chosen at random for every observation interval. Threshold estimates obtained from trials in which both observation intervals contained the same waveform type were not affected by uncertainty about the waveform sample within a trial, nor by uncertainty about the waveform type introduced across trials. Thus the comodulation masking release, or CMR (the difference in the thresholds obtained with the uncorrelated and correlated waveforms), calculated from these types of trials was robust across all of the uncertainty conditions. However, on those trials in which one correlated interval and one uncorrelated interval were paired, threshold estimates were influenced by a bias for listeners to choose the uncorrelated interval as the signal interval, whether or not it actually contained the signal. This bias reveals the importance of recognizing the contribution of the nonsignal interval in experiments involving masker uncertainty. Parallel results were obtained using the comodulation detection difference (CDD) task. In some conditions, marked individual differences were observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1350
Number of pages12
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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