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octave illusion and attention

Dear list,

I would like to announce an in-press article on the octave illusion, titled "Does selective attention influence the octave illusion?", which will appear in the journal Perception.

This article is the last in our series on the octave illusion, and explores the role of attention and analytic listening in sequential processing. Perception has a fairly long lag, so I'd be happy to email pre-prints upon request. Abstract is pasted below.

Our other articles are published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review (latest issue) and JEP:HPP (2002, Dec). PDFs are available from my homepage or by email request.

all the best,

The octave illusion occurs when each ear receives a sequence of tones alternating by one octave, but with different frequencies in each ear. Most listeners report a high pitch in one ear alternating with a low pitch in the opposite ear. Deutsch and Roll (1976) proposed an influential suppression model of the illusion in which the pitch is determined by ear dominance, while the location of this pitch is determined by high-frequency dominance. Deutsch (1978, 1980, 1988) later suggested that this unusual division between "what" and "where" mechanisms is facilitated by sequential interactions within the eliciting sequence. A recent study has raised doubts about the suppression model and the role of sequential interactions in the illusion (Chambers, Mattingley & Moss, 2002). The present study examined whether this previous null effect of sequential interactions may have arisen due to uncontrolled influences of selective attention. The results reveal no evidence of a link between selective attention and sequential interactions, thus consolidating doubts about the validity of the suppression model.

Christopher D. Chambers
Post-doctoral Scientist
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Department of Psychology
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010

Office Tel.  +61 3 8344 1943
Lab Tel. +61 3 8344 1836
Fax. +61 3 9347 6618

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