Simple reaction time for broadband sounds compared to pure tones

Josef Schlittenlacher, Wolfgang Ellermeier, Guel Avci

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Although many studies have explored the relation between reaction time (RT) and loudness, including effects of intensity, frequency, and binaural summation, comparable work on spectral summation is rare. However, most real-world sounds are not pure tones and typically have bandwidths covering several critical bands. Since comparing to a 1-kHz pure tone, the reference tone, is important for loudness measurement and standardization, the present work focuses on comparing RTs for broadband noise to those for 1-kHz pure tones in three experiments using different spectral and binaural configurations. The results of Experiments 1 and 2 yield good quantitative agreement with spectral loudness summation models for moderate and high sound pressure levels, measured using both pink noise covering almost the entire hearing range and bandpass-filtered pink noise with different center frequencies. However, at lower levels, the RT measurements yield an interaction of level and bandwidth, which is not in line with loudness scaling data. In Experiment 3, which investigated the binaural summation of broadband sounds, the binaural gain for white noise was determined to be 9 dB, which is somewhat larger than what had been found in previous RT measurements using 1-kHz pure tones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-636
Number of pages9
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2016


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