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octave illusion

Dear List members,

I wish to announce an in-press article on the octave illusion, which will
appear in JEP:HPP (see abstract below).
In this paper, we suggest that it is time to rethink current thinking on
the octave illusion, specifically the influential suppression model
proposed by Diana Deutsch.

Given the rather long publication lag associated with this journal, I would
be happy to email e-prints upon request.



The octave illusion occurs when each ear receives a sequence of tones
alternating by one octave, but with the high and low tones in different
ears.  Most listeners perceive these stimuli as a high pitch in one ear
alternating with a low pitch in the other ear.  Deutsch and Roll (1976)
interpreted this phenomenon as evidence for a what/where division of
auditory processing caused by sequential interactions between the
tones.  They argued that the pitch follows the frequency presented to the
'dominant' ear, and that the percept is lateralized toward the higher
frequency component.  We examined Deutsch's model in four experiments.  Our
results indicate that the perceived pitch approximates the fundamental
frequency, and that the illusion does not depend on sequential
interactions.  The octave illusion may arise from an interaction between
dichotic fusion and binaural diplacusis, rather than suppression as
proposed by Deutsch.

Christopher D. Chambers, PhD
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Department of Psychology
School of Behavioural Science
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010

Office Tel. +61 3 8344 3684
Lab Tel. +61 3 8344 5158
Fax. +61 3 9347 6618

email: c.chambers@psych.unimelb.edu.au