Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 232–240

Intelligibility of interrupted meaningful and nonsense speech with and without intervening noise

  • J. Verschuure
  • M. P. Brocaar

DOI: 10.3758/BF03202859

Cite this article as:
Verschuure, J. & Brocaar, M.P. Perception & Psychophysics (1983) 33: 232. doi:10.3758/BF03202859


The insertion of noise in the silent intervals of interrupted speech has a very striking perceptual effect if a certain signal-to-noise ratio is used. Conflicting reports have been published as to whether the inserted noise improves speech intelligibility or not. The major difference between studies was the level of redundancy in the speech material. We show in the present paper that the noise leads to a better intelligibility of interrupted speech. The redundancy level determines the possible amount of improvement. The consequences of our findings are discussed. in relation to such phenomena as continuity perception and pulsation threshold measurement. A hypothesis is formulated for the processing of interrupted stimuli with and without intervening noise: for stimuli presented with intervening noise, the presence in the auditory system of an automatic interpolation mechanism is assumed. The mechanism operates only if the noise makes it impossible to perceive the interruption.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Verschuure
    • 1
  • M. P. Brocaar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OtolaryngologyErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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