Physiological and psychoacoustical sensitivity to amplitude and mixed modulation in normally-hearing listeners
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Researchers previously have found a correlation between the strength of the auditory steady-state response (ASSR) and corresponding auditory behavioral measurements such as speech recognition scores, thus concluding that the ASSR can be used as an objective measurement of auditory supra-threshold properties. In the present study, it was hypothesized that the increase in the strength of the ASSR at different modulation depths would be reflected in corresponding psychophysical measures, specifically, auditory modulation discrimination. These relationships were investigated in normally-hearing listeners at modulation rates of 40 and 80 Hz for both amplitude (AM) and mixed modulation (MM), at several modulation depths. Analyses were completed for two sets of measurements derived from the physiological and behavioral responses. For the first analysis, derived measures of iso-neurometric thresholds were compared to isometric modulation discrimination thresholds. For the second analysis, derived estimates of physiological neurometric slope were compared to estimated psychometric function slopes. Mixed-model analyses for both of these measures revealed significant or near-significant relationships between physiological and psychophysical measures at 40 Hz for AM and at 80 Hz for MM. Bootstrap resampling analyses were completed to estimate the distribution of the resultant statistics. Implications regarding the location of neural encoding for amplitude and frequency modulation were discussed.
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