One task intended to measure sensitivity to temporal fine structure (TFS) involves the discrimination of a harmonic complex tone from a tone in which all harmonics are shifted upwards by the same amount in hertz. Both tones are passed through a fixed bandpass filter centered on the high harmonics to reduce the availability of excitation-pattern cues and a background noise is used to mask combination tones. The role of frequency selectivity in this "TFS1" task was investigated by varying level. Experiment 1 showed that listeners performed more poorly at a high level than at a low level. Experiment 2 included intermediate levels and showed that performance deteriorated for levels above about 57 dB sound pressure level. Experiment 3 estimated the magnitude of excitation-pattern cues from the variation in forward masking of a pure tone as a function of frequency shift in the complex tones. There was negligible variation, except for the lowest level used. The results indicate that the changes in excitation level at threshold for the TFS1 task would be too small to be usable. The results are consistent with the TFS1 task being performed using TFS cues, and with frequency selectivity having an indirect effect on performance via its influence on TFS cues.
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