The effects of marker-related temporal cues on auditory gap-duration discrimination
In three experiments, we examined the ability of listeners to discriminate the duration of temporal gaps (silent intervals) and the influence of other temporal stimulus properties on their performance. In the first experiment, gap-duration discrimination thresholds were measured either in continuous noise or with noise markers with durations of 3 and 300 ms. Thresholds measured with 300-ms markers differed from those measured in continuous noise or with 3-ms markers. In the second experiment, stimuli consisting of a gap between two discrete markers were generated such that the gap duration, the onset-to-onset duration between markers, and the duration of the first marker were pseudorandomized across trials. Listeners’ responses generally were consistent with the cue that was identified as the target cue from among the three cues in each block of trials, but the data suggested that the onset-to-onset cue was particularly salient in all conditions. Using a modified method-of-adjustment procedure in the third experiment, subjects were instructed to discriminate between the durations of gaps in discrete markers of different durations in two intervals, where the gap duration in one interval was adapted to measure the point of subjective equality. Without feedback, listeners tended to equate the onset-to-onset times of the markers rather than the gap durations. Overall, the results indicated that listeners’ judgments of silent gaps between two discrete markers are strongly influenced by the onset-to-onset time, or rhythm, of the markers.