Stimulus parameters governing confusion effects in forward masking

Donna L. Neff

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    53 Scopus citations


    In forward masking, performance may be affected by confusion, that is, by the difficulty of discriminating a suprathreshold signal from the preceding masker. This study investigated confusion effects for forward maskers composed of repeated bursts of a 1000-Hz sinusoid followed by sinusoidal signals; such “pulsing” maskers produce confusion when the properties of the signal are identical to those of an individual masker “pulse.” The level, frequency, and duration of the signal relative to an individual masker pulse, as well as offset-onset delay, were varied to determine the minimum change necessary to eliminate confusion. For maskers composed of 20-ms pulses, confusion was eliminated by changes in signal level of 5 dB or changes in signal frequency of 30 to 40 Hz. For maskers composed of 10-, 20-, or 40-ms pulses, confusion was eliminated by signal delays of 8 to 16 ms or by signal durations less than half or greater than twice the masker-pulse duration. Results with adaptive procedures designed to measure confusion-free or confusion-determined thresholds suggest that confusion effects can be minimized or avoided by extensive listener training with a procedure in which the signal and masker are not presented at similar intensities.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1966-1976
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 1985

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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