Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 71, Issue 6, pp 1399–1413 | Cite as

Evaluation of an imputed pitch velocity model of the auditory tau effect

  • Molly J. Henry
  • J. Devin McAuleyEmail author
  • Marta Zaleha
Research Articles


This article extends an imputed pitch velocity model of the auditory kappa effect proposed by Henry and McAuley (2009a) to the auditory tau effect. Two experiments were conducted using an AXB design in which listeners judged the relative pitch of a middle target tone (X) in ascending and descending three-tone sequences. In Experiment 1, sequences were isochronous, establishing constant fast, medium, and slow velocity conditions. No systematic distortions in perceived target pitch were observed, and thresholds were similar across velocity conditions. Experiment 2 introduced to-be-ignored variations in target timing. Variations in target timing that deviated from constant velocity conditions introduced systematic distortions in perceived target pitch, indicative of a robust auditory tau effect. Consistent with an auditory motion hypothesis, the magnitude of the tau effect was larger at faster velocities. In addition, the tau effect was generally stronger for descending sequences than for ascending sequences. Combined with previous work on the auditory kappa effect, the imputed velocity model and associated auditory motion hypothesis provide a unified quantitative account of both auditory tau and kappa effects. In broader terms, these findings add support to the view that pitch and time relations in auditory patterns are fundamentally interdependent.


Velocity Condition Representational Momentum Absolute Pitch Target Tone Auditory Motion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly J. Henry
    • 1
  • J. Devin McAuley
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marta Zaleha
    • 1
  1. 1.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling Green
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing

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