Informational masking of monaural target speech by a single contralateral formant


Recent research suggests that the ability of an extraneous formant to impair intelligibility depends on the variation of its frequency contour. This idea was explored using a method that ensures interference occurs only through informational masking. Three-formant analogues of sentences were synthesized using a monotonous periodic source (F0 = 140 Hz). Target formants were presented monaurally; the target ear was assigned randomly on each trial. A competitor for F2 (F2C) was presented contralaterally; listeners must reject F2C to optimize recognition. In experiment 1, F2Cs with various frequency and amplitude contours were used. F2Cs with time-varying frequency contours were effective competitors; constant-frequency F2Cs had far less impact. Amplitude contour also influenced competitor impact; this effect was additive. In experiment 2, F2Cs were created by inverting the F2 frequency contour about its geometric mean and varying its depth of variation over a range from constant to twice the original (0–200%). The impact on intelligibility was least for constant F2Cs and increased up to ~100% depth, but little thereafter. The effect of an extraneous formant depends primarily on its frequency contour; interference increases as the depth of variation is increased until the range exceeds that typical for F2 in natural speech.

Publication DOI:
Dataset DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Vision, Hearing and Language
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Centre for Vision and Hearing Research
Additional Information: © 2015 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License Funding: ESRC (ES/K004905/1). To access the research data underlying this publication, see
Uncontrolled Keywords: speech analysis
Publication ISSN: 1520-8524
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 07:17
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 14:05
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://asa.sci ... .1121/1.4919344 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2015-05
Authors: Roberts, Brian (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-4232-9459)
Summers, Robert J. (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4857-7354)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

Export / Share Citation


Additional statistics for this record