Spectral shape discrimination of narrow-band sounds

D. M. Green, B. G. Berg, H. Dai, D. A. Eddins, Z. Onsan, Q. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Measurements are reported on the detectability of signals added to narrow- band sounds. The narrow-band sounds had a bandwidth of 20 Hz and were either Gaussian noise with flat amplitude spectra or sets of equal-amplitude sinusoidal components whose phases were chosen at random. Four different kinds of sinusoidal signals were used. Two signals produced symmetric changes in the audio spectrum adding a component either at the center of the spectrum or at both ends. The other two signals produced asymmetric changes adding a component at either end of the spectrum. The overall level of the sound was randomly varied on each presentation, so that the presence of a signal was largely unrelated to the absolute level of the signal component(s). A model is proposed that assumes the detection of the symmetric signals is based on changes in the shape of the power spectrum of the envelope. Such changes in the envelope power spectrum are probably heard as changes in the 'roughness' or 'smoothness' of the narrow-band sound. The predictions of this model were obtained from computer simulations. For the asymmetric signals, the most probable detection cues were changes in the pitch of the narrow-band sound. Results from a variety of different experiments using three listeners support these conjectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2586-2597
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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