Onset asynchrony is an important cue for segregating sound mixtures. A harmonic of a vowel that begins before the other components contributes less to vowel quality. This asynchrony effect can be partly reversed by accompanying the leading portion of the harmonic with an octave-higher captor tone. The original interpretation was that the captor and leading portion formed a perceptual group, but it has recently been shown that the captor effect depends on neither a common onset time nor harmonic relations with the leading portion. Instead, it has been proposed that the captor effect depends on wideband inhibition in the central auditory system. Physiological evidence suggests that such inhibition occurs both within and across ears. Experiment 1 compared the efficacy of a pure-tone captor presented in the same or opposite ear to the vowel and leading harmonic. Contralateral presentation was at least as effective as ipsilateral presentation. Experiment 2 used multicomponent captors in a more comprehensive evaluation of harmonic influences on captor efficacy. Three captors with different fundamental frequencies were used, one of which formed a consecutive harmonic series with the leading harmonic. All captors were equally effective, irrespective of the harmonic relationship. These findings support and refine the inhibitory account.

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