Lateralization of low-frequency tones and narrow bands of noise

Jeffrey L. Schiano, Constantine Trahiotis, Leslie R. Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


It is well known and universally accepted that people’s ability to use ongoing interaural temporal disparities conveyed via pure tones is limited to frequencies below 1600 Hz. We wish to determine if this limitation is the result of the constant amplitude and periodic axis-crossings which characterize pure tones. To this end, an acoustic pointing task was employed in which listeners varied the interaural intensitive difference of a 500-Hz narrow-band noise (the pointer) so that the position of its intracranial image matched that of a second, experimenter-controlled stimulus (the target). Targets were either pure tones or narrow bands of noise (50 or 100 Hz wide). The narrow bands of noise were delayed interaurally in two distinct manners: Either the entire waveform or only the carrier was delayed. In the latter case, the envelopes and phase-functions of the bands of noise were identical interaurally. This resulted in noises which resemble the pure-tone case in that the interaural delay is manifested as a constant phase-shift and resemble ordinary noises in that the envelope and phase are random functions of time. Surprisingly, it appears that all three targets were lateralized virtually identically regardless of frequency or bandwidth. Apparently, the dynamically changing envelopes and phases did not affect the listeners’ use of interaural temporal disparities in any discernible fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1563-1570
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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