The perception of stimuli with ramped envelopes (gradual attack and abrupt decay) and damped envelopes (abrupt attack and gradual decay) was studied in subjective and objective tasks. Magnitude estimation (ME) of perceived duration was measured for broadband noise, 1.0-kHz, and 8.0-kHz tones for durations between 10 and 200 ms. Damped sounds were judged to be shorter than ramped sounds. Matching experiments between sounds with ramped, damped, and rectangular envelopes also showed that damped sounds are perceived to be shorter than ramped sounds, and, additionally, the reason for the effect is a result of the damped sound being judged shorter than a rectangular-gated sound rather than the ramped sound being judged longer than a rectangular-gated sound. These matching studies also demonstrate that the size of the effect is larger for tones (factor of 2.0) than for broadband noise (factor of 1.5). There are two plausible explanations for the finding that damped sounds are judged to be shorter than ramped or rectangular-gated sounds: (1) the abrupt offset at a high level of the ramped sound (or a rectangular-gated sound) results in a persistence of perception (forward masking) that is considered in judgments of the subjective duration; and (2) listeners may ignore a portion of the decay of a damped sound because they consider it an “echo” [Stecker and Hafter, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 107, 3358–3368 (2000)]. In another experiment, duration discrimination for broadband noise with ramped, damped, and rectangular envelopes was studied as a function of duration (10 to 100 ms) to determine if differences in perceived duration are associated with the size of measured Weber fractions. A forced-choice adaptive procedure was used. Duration discrimination was poorer for noise with ramped envelopes than for noise with damped or rectangular envelopes. This result is inconsistent with differences in perceived duration and no explanation was readily apparent.

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