When normal-hearing adults and children are required to detect a 1000-Hz tone in a random-frequency multitone masker, masking is often observed in excess of that predicted by traditional auditory filter models. The excess masking is called informational masking. Though individual differences in the effect are large, the amount of informational masking is typically much greater in young children than in adults [Oh et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 109, 2888–2895 (2001)]. One factor that reduces informational masking in adults is spatial separation of the target tone and masker. The present study was undertaken to determine whether or not a similar effect of spatial separation is observed in children. An extreme case of spatial separation was used in which the target tone was presented to one ear and the random multitone masker to the other ear. This condition resulted in nearly complete elimination of masking in adults. In young children, however, presenting the masker to the nontarget ear typically produced only a slight decrease in overall masking and no change in informational masking. The results for children are interpreted in terms of a model that gives equal weight to the auditory filter outputs from each ear.
Children’s detection of pure-tone signals: Informational masking with contralateral maskers
Frederic L. Wightman, Michael R. Callahan, Robert A. Lutfi, Doris J. Kistler, Eunmi Oh; Children’s detection of pure-tone signals: Informational masking with contralateral maskers. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 June 2003; 113 (6): 3297–3305. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.1570443
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