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The Calculation of Differential Thresholds by Means of a Functional Model

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The thresholds for the detectability of sinusoidal changes of sound, measured at the human auditory system, are compared with threshold values which can be calculated by means of a functional model. The results demonstrate that the thresholds for intensity changes as well as for frequency changes can be uniformly described by using the functional model. The magnitude of just noticeable changes of sound can be calculated correctly if the sound spectrum is known.

The basic principle of the functional model is that the excitation pattern L E(z) (L E = excitation level, z = critical band function (Tonheit)), caused by the sound in the auditory system, is scanned by a large number of identical analyzing circuits, which are arranged along the position coordinate z. Each analyzing circuit is assigned to a certain locus zi and processes the changes in level ΔL E(zi ) occurring there. These changes in level can be caused by amplitude as well as by frequency modulation of the sound, due to selectivity of the transformation of sound spectrum into the excitation pattern. Each analyzing circuit contains two detectors, the first giving a response if the change in level ΔL E (zi ), which is weighted according to its frequency f mod, exceeds 1 dB. This determines the differential thresholds of pure tones. The differential threshold of premodulated sounds (e.g. complex tones, noise) is determined by the second detector which detects additional changes of a fluctuation which has caused a response of the first detector already. The second detector gives an output signal if the fluctuation already existing is altered additionally by 1 dB.

The differential thresholds of pure tones and narrow band noise of the same center frequency, which are quite different, can be explained directly by the functional model. This refutes the assumption, that both kinds of sound are processed by the auditory system in a different manner.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1967

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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