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Publication Detail
Critical repetition rates for perceptual segregation of time-varying auditory, visual and vibrotactile stimulation
What sound quality has led to exclude infrasound from sound in the conventional hearing range? We examined whether temporal segregation of pressure pulses is a distinctive property and evaluated this perceptual limit via an adaptive psychophysical procedure for pure tones and carriers of different envelopes. Further, to examine across-domain similarity and individual covariation of this limit, here called the critical segregation rate (CSR), it was also measured for various periodic visual and vibrotactile stimuli. Results showed that sequential auditory or vibrotactile stimuli separated by at least ~80?90 ms (~11-12-Hz repetition rates), will be perceived as perceptually segregated from one another. While this limit did not statistically differ between these two modalities, it was significantly lower than the ~150 ms necessary to perceptually segregate successive visual stimuli. For the three sensory modalities, stimulus periodicity was the main factor determining the CSR, which apparently reflects neural recovery times of the different sensory systems. Among all experimental conditions, significant within- and across-modality individual CSR correlations were observed, despite the visual CSR (mean: 6.8 Hz) being significantly lower than that of both other modalities. The auditory CSR was found to be significantly lower than the frequency above which sinusoids start to elicit a tonal quality (19 Hz; recently published for the same subjects). Returning to our initial question, the latter suggests that the cessation of tonal quality - not the segregation of pressure fluctuations - is the perceptual quality that has led to exclude infrasound (sound with frequencies < 20 Hz) from the conventional hearing range.
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