Physiological correlates of masking release
Masking release is one example of auditory object segregation where the masked threshold of a target sound decreases in the presence of beneficial cues. Two such cues are comodulation and interaural phase disparity (IPD) underlying the phenomena of comodulation masking release (CMR) and binaural masking level difference (BMLD) respectively. While the effect of these cues have been shown in behavioral studies, little is known about the underlying physiological mechanisms of masking release. In this study, we postulated an ”internal signal-to-noise ratio (iSNR)” that reflects neuronal representation of a masked tone. As the proxy for iSNR, we investigated the applicability of late auditory evoked potentials (LAEPs). We added an onset asynchrony cue with comodulation and IPD cues. Results showed that onset asynchrony had a negative effect on CMR while it did not affect BMLD. The P2 component of the vertex LAEPs was suggested to be an objective measure of iSNR. This will provide us information about whether temporal contexts affect the neuronal representation of CMR and BMLD at the level of the auditory cortex.
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