Similarity effects in backward recognition masking

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Abstract

Auditory backward recognition masking refers to the ability of masking sound to terminate further perceptual resolution of a test sound presented slightly earlier in time. Three experiments were conducted with 37 undergraduates to determine whether mask/test tone similarity effects in backward recognition masking could be reliably demonstrated. Although similarity effects were found in Exps I and II, only about 60% of the Ss demonstrated these effects. Exp III was designed to isolate which stage of information processing is responsible for similarity effects. It was hypothesized that similarity effects are due to mask interference with the synthesized auditory memory of the test tone rather than to selective overwriting of a preperceptual auditory store; previous research has shown that interference in synthesized auditory memory depends on the similarity of the interfering stimulus to the items held in memory. By independently varying the backward masking interval and the interfering effect of the mask on the test tone memory, it was possible to demonstrate that similarity effects are indeed caused by mask interference in synthesized memory. Implications are considered in the framework of auditory and visual masking. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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