Primitive stream segregation of tone sequences without differences in fundamental frequency or passband

Brian Roberts, BR Glasberg, BCJ Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Citations (Scopus)


Peripheral-channeling theorists argue that differences in excitation pattern between successive sounds are necessary for stream segregation to occur. The component phases of complex tones comprising unresolved harmonics (F0=100 Hz) were manipulated to change pitch and timbre without changing the power spectrum. In experiment 1, listeners compared two alternating sequences of tones, A and B. One sequence was isochronous (tone duration=60 ms, intertone interval=40 ms). The other began isochronously, but the progressive delay of tone B made the rhythm irregular. Subjects had to identify the sequence with irregular rhythm. Stream segregation makes this task more difficult. A and B could differ in passband (1250-2500 Hz, 1768-3536 Hz, 2500-5000 Hz), component phase (cosine, alternating, random), or both. Stimuli were presented at 70 dB SPL in pink noise. Dissimilarity in either passband or phase increased discrimination thresholds. Moreover, phase differences raised threshold even when there was no passband difference. In experiment 2, listeners judged moment-by-moment the grouping of long ABA-ABA-... sequences. The measure was the proportion of time a sequence was heard as segregated. The factors that increased segregation were very similar to those that increased threshold in experiment 1. Overall, the findings indicate that substantial stream segregation can occur without differences in power spectrum. It is concluded that differences in peripheral channeling are not a requirement for stream segregation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2074-2085
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002


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