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Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 153, Issue 4, pp 405–417 | Cite as

The psychophysics and physiology of comodulation masking release

  • Jesko L. Verhey
  • Daniel Pressnitzer
  • Ian M. Winter
Review

Abstract

The ability to detect auditory signals from background noise may be enhanced by the addition of energy in frequency regions well removed from the frequency of the signal. However, it is important that this energy is amplitude-modulated in a coherent way across frequencies, i.e. comodulated. This enhancement of signal detectability is known as comodulation masking release (CMR), and in this review we show that CMR is largest if: (1) the total masker's bandwidth is large, (2) the modulation frequency is low, (3) the modulation depth is high, (4) the envelope is regular and, (5) the masker's spectrum level is high. Possible physiological correlates of CMR have been found at different levels of the auditory pathway. Current hypotheses for the underlying physiological mechanisms, including wide-band inhibition or the disruption of masker modulation envelope response, are discussed.

Keywords

Cochlear nucleus Auditory cortex Amplitude modulation Wide-band inhibition Across-frequency processing 

Abbreviations

ACM

Across-channel masking

AF CMR

Across-frequency comodulation masking release

BF

Best frequency

CB

Critical band

CD

Codeviant

CM

Comodulated

CMR

Comodulation masking release

DCN

Dorsal cochlear nucleus

DV

Deviant

ERB

Equivalent rectangular bandwidth

FB

Flanking band

OFM

On-frequency masker

RF

Reference

SAM

Sinusoidal amplitude modulation

UM

Unmodulated

VCN

Ventral cochlear nucleus

WBI

Wide-band inhibition

Notes

Acknowledgements

Supported by the Wellcome Trust. The second author is currently supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. We thank Ray Meddis for many helpful discussions on the physiological mechanisms of CMR and the selection of appropriate stimuli.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesko L. Verhey
    • 1
  • Daniel Pressnitzer
    • 1
  • Ian M. Winter
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Neural Basis of HearingThe Physiological LaboratoryCambridgeUK

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