Observer weighting of interaural cues in positive and negative envelope slopes of amplitude-modulated waveforms

I. Hui Hsieh, Agavni Petrosyan, Óscar F. Gonçalves, Gregory Hickok, Kourosh Saberi

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5 Scopus citations


The auditory system can encode interaural delays in highpass-filtered complex sounds by phase locking to their slowly modulating envelopes. Spectrotemporal analysis of interaurally time-delayed highpass waveforms reveals the presence of a concomitant interaural level cue. The current study systematically investigated the contribution of time and concomitant level cues carried by positive and negative envelope slopes of a modified sinusoidally amplitude-modulated (SAM) high-frequency carrier. The waveforms were generated from concatenation of individual modulation cycles whose envelope peaks were extended by the desired interaural delay, allowing independent control of delays in the positive and negative modulation slopes. In experiment 1, thresholds were measured using a 2-interval forced-choice adaptive task for interaural delays in either the positive or negative modulation slopes. In a control condition, thresholds were measured for a standard SAM tone. In experiment 2, decision weights were estimated using a multiple-observation correlational method in a single-interval forced-choice task for interaural delays carried simultaneously by the positive, and independently, negative slopes of the modulation envelope. In experiment 3, decision weights were measured for groups of 3 modulation cycles at the start, middle, and end of the waveform to determine the influence of onset dominance or recency effects. Results were consistent across experiments: thresholds were equal for the positive and negative modulation slopes. Decision weights were positive and equal for the time cue in the positive and negative envelope slopes. Weights were also larger for modulations cycles near the waveform onset. Weights estimated for the concomitant interaural level cue were positive for the positive envelope slope and negative for the negative slope, consistent with exclusive use of time cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2011


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