Development and the role of internal noise in detection and discrimination thresholds with narrow band stimuli

Emily Buss, John H. Grose, Joseph W. Hall
The experiments reported here examine the role of internal noise in the detection of a tone in narrow band noise and intensity discrimination for narrow band stimuli in school-aged children as compared to adults. Experiment 1 used 20-Hz wide bands of Gaussian and low-fluctuation noise centered at 500 Hz to assess the role of stimulus fluctuation in detection of a 500-Hz pure tone. Additional conditions tested whether performance was based on level and/or level-independent cues. Children's
more » ... s. Children's thresholds were elevated with respect to adults, and whereas adults benefited from the reduced fluctuation of low-fluctuation noise, children did not. Results from both groups were consistent with the use of a level cue. Experiment 2 estimated intensity increment thresholds for a narrow band Gaussian noise or a pure tone, either with or without a presentation-by-presentation level rove, an additional source of level variability. Stimulus variability was found to have a larger effect on performance of adults as compared to children, a rather counterintuitive finding if one thinks of children as more prone to informational masking introduced by stimulus variability. Both tone-in-noise and intensity discrimination data were consistent with the hypothesis that children's performance is limited by greater levels of internal noise.
doi:10.17615/n1kw-qc78 fatcat:3n2htnq6bbbljbc5khlvjhf66y