Interaural Time Difference Thresholds as a Function of Frequency

  • William M. Hartmann
  • Larisa Dunai
  • Tianshu Qu
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (volume 787)


Different models of the binaural system make different predictions for the just-detectable interaural time difference (ITD) for sine tones. To test these models, ITD thresholds were measured for human listeners focusing on high- and low-frequency regions. The measured thresholds exhibited a minimum between 700 and 1,000 Hz. As the frequency increased above 1,000 Hz, thresholds rose faster than exponentially. Although finite thresholds could be measured at 1,400 Hz, experiments did not converge at 1,450 Hz and higher. A centroid computation along the interaural delay axis, within the context of the Jeffress model, can successfully simulate the minimum and the high-frequency dependence. In the limit of medium-low frequencies (f), where f . ITD << 1, mathematical approximations predict low-­frequency slopes for the centroid model and for a rate-code model. It was found that measured thresholds were approximately inversely proportional to the ­frequency (slope = –1) in agreement with a rate-code model. However, the centroid model is capable of a wide range of predictions (slopes from 0 to –2).


Interaural Time Difference Tone Frequency Medial Superior Olive Interaural Phase Sine Tone 
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.



We are grateful to Les Bernstein, Constantine Trahiotis, and Richard Stern for the helpful conversations about the centroid model. LD was supported by The Vicerectorado de Profesorado y Ordenación Académica of the Universitat Politècnica de Valeència (Spain). TQ was supported by grant 61175043 from the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The work was supported by the NIDCD grant DC-00181 and the AFOSR grant 11NL002.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • William M. Hartmann
    • 1
  • Larisa Dunai
    • 2
  • Tianshu Qu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Departamento de Ingeniería GráficaUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValènciaSpain
  3. 3.Key Laboratory on Machine Perception-Ministry of EducationPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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