Temporal-Order Discrimination for Selected Auditory and Visual Stimulus Dimensions Thresholds for the discrimination of temporal order were determined for selected auditory and visual stimulus dimensions in 10 normal-adult volunteers. Auditory stimuli consisted of binary pure tones varying in frequency or sound pressure level, and visual stimuli consisted of binary geometric forms varying in size, orientation, or color. We determined ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1998
Temporal-Order Discrimination for Selected Auditory and Visual Stimulus Dimensions
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dennis J. McFarland
    Wadsworth Center New York State Health Department Albany, NY
  • Anthony T. Cacace
    Departments of Surgery and Neurology Albany Medical College Albany, NY
  • Gavin Setzen
    Department of Surgery Albany Medical College Albany, NY
  • Contact author: Dennis J. McFarland, PhD, Wadsworth Center, New York State Health Department, Albany, NY 12201–0509. Email: mcfarlan@wadsworth.org
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1998
Temporal-Order Discrimination for Selected Auditory and Visual Stimulus Dimensions
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 300-314. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.300
History: Received January 2, 1997 , Accepted October 3, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1998, Vol. 41, 300-314. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4102.300
History: Received January 2, 1997; Accepted October 3, 1997

Thresholds for the discrimination of temporal order were determined for selected auditory and visual stimulus dimensions in 10 normal-adult volunteers. Auditory stimuli consisted of binary pure tones varying in frequency or sound pressure level, and visual stimuli consisted of binary geometric forms varying in size, orientation, or color. We determined the effect of psychophysical method and the reliability of performance across stimulus dimensions. Using a single-track adaptive procedure, Experiment 1 showed that temporal-order thresholds (TOTs) varied with stimulus dimension, being lowest for auditory frequency, intermediate for size, orientation, and auditory level, and longest for color. Test performance improved over sessions and the profile of thresholds across stimulus dimensions had a modest reliability. Experiment 2 used a double-interleaved adaptive procedure and TOTs were similarly ordered as in Experiment 1. However, TOT swere significantly lower for initially ascending versus descending tracks. With this method, the reliability of the profile across stimulus dimensions and tracks was relatively low. In Experiment 3, psychometric functions were obtained for each of the stimulus dimensions and thresholds were defined as the interpolated 70.7% correct point. The relative ordering of TOTs was similar to those obtained in the first two experiments. Non-monotonicities were found in some of the psychometric functions, with the most prominent being for the color dimension. A crossexperiment comparison of results demonstrates that TOTs and their reliability are significantly influenced by the psychophysical method. Taken together, these results support the notion that the temporal resolution of ordered stimuli involves perceptual mechanisms specific to a given sensory modality or submodality.

Acknowledgments
We thank Dr. Sid Bacon for editorial assistance, and Dr. Fan-Gang Zeng and one anonymous reviewer for their comments. Portions of these data were presented at the Nineteenth Annual Mid-Winter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, February 1996, St. Petersburg Beach, FL.
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