• Neff, Donna L (PI)

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    The long-term goal of this project is a better understanding of the
    interaction of peripheral and central auditory processes that determine
    performance under conditions of stimulus uncertainty, that is, when one or
    more of the physical properties of the sounds cannot be predicted. Unlike
    many psychophysical studies which seek to minimize the influence of central
    processes, these experiments examine conditions in which central processes
    significantly influence or dominate performance. Our previous work has
    focused on the large effects of masker frequency uncertainty in the
    detection of a known signal. In the proposed work, we undertake a more
    general examination of the effects of stimulus uncertainty, adopting a
    common approach to the measurement of both masker and signal uncertainty.
    The absence of such an approach has hindered the development of more
    general models of the effects of uncertainty. We test the hypothesis that
    uncertainty effects may best be understood in terms of the ratio of
    relevant (to be processed) variability to irrelevant (to be ignored)
    variability, in an information-based analog to the ratio of
    signal-to-noise-powers that govern energy-based masking. We first develop
    stimuli and procedures which allow us to quantify the amount of masker
    uncertainty, and then use these to explore the effects of irrelevant
    uncertainty both alone and in combination with effects of relevant
    variation or effects of energy-based masking. The experiments proposed are
    grouped in three series which examine: 1) how best to measure uncertainty;
    2) the sources of the uncertainty effects; and 3) the combination rules for
    the effects of irrelevant uncertainty, relevant uncertainty, and
    energy-based masking. Because stimulus uncertainty is inherent in everyday
    listening situations, these experiments will contribute to more realistic
    models of auditory processing that include both peripheral and central
    Effective start/end date12/1/906/30/03


    • National Institutes of Health: $113,893.00
    • National Institutes of Health: $137,732.00
    • National Institutes of Health: $127,341.00
    • National Institutes of Health: $110,203.00
    • National Institutes of Health: $125,278.00


    • Medicine(all)
    • Neuroscience(all)


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