Effective properties of multicomponent simultaneous maskers under conditions of uncertainty

Donna L. Neff, Brian P. Callaghan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    75 Scopus citations


    When more than one sinusoid is used as a masker, more masking is observed than would be predicted by a simple combination of their individual effects. This masking is dramatically increased when the masker components vary in frequency and intensity with each presentation. These studies manipulated several masker parameters under conditions of high masker uncertainty, examining the effect of excluding critical-band components, fixing or randomizing component amplitudes and frequencies, and narrowing the frequency range of the components. The signal was always a 200-ms, 1000-Hz sinusoid, presented simultaneously with the 200-ms masker. Removing critical-band components reduced the amount of masking, but considerable masking remained that appears to be nonperipheral in origin. Fixing masker frequencies across the two intervals of a trial greatly reduced the masking observed, whereas fixing masker amplitudes had no effect. Reducing the frequency range from 5000 to 2700 Hz generally increased the masking observed, but appeared to depend on other masker parameters. Summaries across ten listeners show individual differences that are resistant to extensive training. It is difficult to account for most of the masking observed in terms of masker energy falling near the region of the signal.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1833-1838
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - May 1988

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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