This article examines the idea that the temporal resolution of the auditory system can be modeled using a temporal window (an intensity weighting function) analogous to the auditory filter measured in the frequency domain. To estimate the shape of the hypothetical temporal window, threshold was measured for a brief sinusoidal signal presented in a temporal gap between two bursts of noise. The duration of the gap was systematically varied and the signal was placed both symmetrically and asymmetrically within the gap. The data were analyzed by assuming that the temporal window had the form of a simple mathematical expression with a small number of free parameters. The values of the parameters were adjusted to give the best fit to the data. The analysis assumed that, for each condition, the temporal window was centered at the time giving the highest signal-to-masker ratio, and that threshold corresponded to a fixed ratio of signal energy to masker energy at the output of the window. The data were fitted well by modeling each side of the window as the sum of two rounded-exponential functions. The window was highly asymmetric, having a shallower slope for times before the center than for times after. The equivalent rectangular duration (ERD) of the window was typically about 8 ms. The ERD increased slightly when the masker level was decreased, but did not differ significantly for signal frequencies of 500 and 2000 Hz. The temporal-window model successfully accounts for the data from a variety of experiments measuring temporal resolution. However, it fails to predict certain aspects of forward masking and of the detection of amplitude modulation at high rates.
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