Informational masking of monaural target speech by a single contralateral formant

Brian Roberts, Robert J. Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2726-2736
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

Bibliographical note

© 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).

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  • speech analysis


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