Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Effects of Temporal Shapes of Sound Markers on the Perception of Interonset Time Intervals

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Effects of Temporal Shapes of Sound Markers on the Perception of Interonset Time Intervals

Article excerpt

Published online: 11 November 2011

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2011

Abstract This study investigated how the temporal characteristics, particularly durations, of sounds affect the perceived duration of very short interonset time intervals (120-360 ms), which is important for rhythm perception in speech and music. In four experiments, the subjective duration of single time intervals marked by two sounds was measured utilizing the method of adjustment, while the markers' durations, amplitude difference (which accompanied the duration change), and sound energy distribution in time were varied. Lengthening the duration of the second marker in the range of 20-100 ms increased the subjective duration of the time interval in a stable manner. Lengthening the first marker tended to increase the subjective duration, but unstably; an opposite effect sometimes appeared for the shortest time interval of 120 ms. The effects of varying the amplitude and the sound energy distribution in time of either marker were very small in the present experimental conditions, thus proving the effects of marker durations per se.

Keywords Temporal processing . Audition

The present study investigated time perception in a very basic situation closely related to human auditory communication. Our research question was whether-and if so, how-the perception of a time interval demarcated by two successive events was influenced by the durations of these events. This issue is directly related to rhythm perception. Because the perception of rhythm is basically determined by neighboring intervals demarcated by the onsets of successive sounds (e.g., Handel, 1993; Large, 2008; McAdams & Drake, 2002; Patel, 2008), we were particularly interested in the perception of interonset time intervals. Perception of time intervals delimited by successive sounds is vital to speech perception; comparison of syllable durations, for example, is important in English (Handel, 1989; Spencer, 1996), as well as in Japanese (Amano & Hirata, 2010; Greenberg & Arai, 2004).

Previous research tested how the durations of events (i.e., sound markers) influenced the perception of time intervals in between events, either by utilizing single time intervals marked by two events (Divenyi & Sachs, 1978; Grondin, Ivry, Franz, Perreault, & Metthe, 1996; Grondin, Roussel, Gamache, Roy, & Ouellet, 2005; Penner, 1976; Rammsayer & Leutner, 1996; Woodrow, 1928) or by utilizing multiple time intervals marked by three or more events (Handel, 1993; Hasuo, Nakajima, & Hirose, 2011; Repp & Marcus, 2010; Schubert & Fabian, 2001; Yamashita & Nakajima, 1999). The results of these studies showed that marker duration could influence the perception of time intervals. However, we could not relate the results directly to rhythm perception and human auditory communication, for the following reasons. Most of the studies utilizing single time intervals had focused mainly on discrimination paradigms, and not on the subjective duration itself (Divenyi & Sachs, 1978; Grondin et al., 2005; Penner, 1976; Rammsayer & Leutner, 1996). This was in contrast with the fact that the studies utilizing multiple time intervals had often taken up subjective duration directly, with a clear interest in rhythm in music (e.g., Hasuo et al., 2011; Repp & Marcus, 2010; Schubert & Fabian, 2001; Yamashita & Nakajima, 1999). Even in the latter case, however, it was often difficult to determine the functional relationship between marker durations and the subjective duration of each individual time interval. Although Woodrow (1928) was interested in subjective duration per se in a single-time-interval paradigm, he utilized only offset-onset intervals as "empty" time intervals; they were different from the onset-onset intervals that are essential to auditory communication (e.g., Handel, 1993; Large, 2008; McAdams & Drake, 2002; Patel, 2008). We have to be careful when defining "empty durations," because differences between the perception of an onset and the perception of an offset in terms of timing have been demonstrated repeatedly in various contexts (Efron, 1970; Fastl & Zwicker, 2007; Grondin, 1993, 2003; Grondin, Meilleur-Wells, Ouellette, & Macar, 1998; Kato, Tsuzaki, & Sagisaka, 2003). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.