Simultaneous masking additivity for short Gaussian-shaped tones: Spectral effects


Authors: Laback B., Necciari T., Balazs P., Savel S., Ystad S.
Publication Date: August 2013
Journal: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (vol. 134(2), pp. 1160-1171, 2013)



Laback et al. [(2011). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 129, 888-897] investigated the additivity of nonsimultaneous masking using short Gaussian-shaped tones as maskers and target. The present study involved Gaussian stimuli to measure the additivity of simultaneous masking for combinations of up to four spectrally separated maskers. According to most basilar membrane measurements, the maskers should be processed linearly at the characteristic frequency (CF) of the target. Assuming also compression of the target, all masker combinations should produce excess masking (exceeding linear additivity). The results for a pair of maskers flanking the target indeed showed excess masking. The amount of excess masking could be predicted by a model assuming summation of masker-evoked excitations in intensity units at the target CF and compression of the target, using compressive input/output functions derived from the nonsimultaneous masking study. However, the combinations of lower-frequency maskers showed much less excess masking than predicted by the model. This cannot easily be attributed to factors like off-frequency listening, combination tone perception, or between-masker suppression. It was better predicted, however, by assuming weighted intensity summation of masker excitations. The optimum weights for the lower-frequency maskers were smaller than one, consistent with partial masker compression as indicated by recent psychoacoustic data.