Wideband inhibition modulates the effect of onset asynchrony as a grouping cue

Brian Roberts, Stephen D. Holmes, Stefan Bleeck, Ian M. Winter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Onset asynchrony is arguably the most powerful grouping cue for the separation of temporally overlapping sounds (see Bregman 1990). A component that begins only 30–50 ms before the others makes a greatly reduced contribution to the timbre of a complex tone, or to the phonetic quality of a vowel (e.g. Darwin 1984). This effect of onset asynchrony does not necessarily imply a cognitive grouping process; instead it may result from peripheral adaptation in the response to the leading component in the few tens of milliseconds before the other components begin (e.g., Westerman and Smith 1984). However, two findings suggest that the effect of onset asynchrony cannot be explained entirely by peripheral adaptation. First, though the effect is smaller, the contribution of a component to the phonetic quality of a short-duration vowel is reduced when it ends after the other components (Darwin and Sutherland 1984; Roberts and Moore 1991).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHearing – From Sensory Processing to Perception
EditorsBirger Kollmeier, Georg Klump, Volker Hohman, Ulrike Langemann, Manfred Mauermann, Stefan Uppenkamp, Jesko Verhey
Place of PublicationBerlin (DE)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783540730088
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2007

Bibliographical note

International Symposium on Hearing, Cloppenburg (DE), August 2006


  • onset asynchrony
  • separation
  • temporally overlapping sound
  • peripheral adaptation


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