New Scientist Question ("Susan E. Hall" )

Subject: New Scientist Question
From:    "Susan E. Hall"  <susanhal(at)IS.DAL.CA>
Date:    Wed, 21 Nov 2001 12:49:45 -0400

I've always had the yawning - pitch drop effect very strongly. Also, I can easily induce a pitch modulation at will when listening to headphones by performing a sort of muscular tensing of something in my ear/throat area. I guess I'm doing the middle ear contraction mentioned by Greg O'Beirne in his original post, because it does result in a low-pitched sensation (closer to a "roar" than a "rumble" in my mind - it's smoother than a rumble). Anyway, I just now performed a simple test. I listened separately to a tone and then to some noise, and was easily able to lower the pitch of both, equally well. Am I right in concluding that this rules out the ear-canal filtering explanation? While it is true that the muscle contraction I use results in a low-pitched background roar, it does *seem* like the pitch of the stimulus is altered independently from that, although I could be mistaken in my ability to separate the effects. Are there any data on the effects of background noise on pitch/frequency discriminations? Susan Hall Dalhousie University

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