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Lecture 10

PSY 3108 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Absolute Threshold, Psychometric Function, Monaural

Course Code
PSY 3108
Sharon Lee

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Lecture 10 Auditory Perception 2
Topic Outline for Today
Finish up hearing pathways
Introduce perceptual topics
- Intensity & Loudness
- Frequency & Pitch
- Auditory Space Perception
Intensity and Loudness
Loudness is the subjective perceptual quality of sound related most directly to
pressure or intensity
But loudness also depends on frequency of sound, among other things (x and y
Absolute Detection Threshold
The pressure at which loudness is greater than 0(i.e., absolute threshold) varies according
to Hz
Max. Sensitivity at 2-5 kHz,
Also, where human speech has most energy (social aspect to measurements)
Psychophysical Function the min. audibility curve for humans
Plot of absolute threshold as a function of sound frequency produces the minimal
audibility curve.
Sound detection is best around 20004000 Hz; threshold increases on either side
of this range.
Sound intensity values that produce pain are known as terminal threshold.
Range of intensities for normal hearing occurs within the space between these
curves (shaded region).
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find more resources at

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Minimum Audibility Curve
Terminal Threshold is
point of pain
Minimum audibility
(threshold) varies by frequency
Normal hearing range is
shaded area
Fundamental Concept: Psychophysical vs. Psychometrics
Psychometric Function:
Function of physical quantity & behaviour (e.g., stimulus intensity and
perceived magnitude)
Shows one threshold
Psychophysical Function:
Function of two physical quantities
Shows how threshold on one physical quantity varies as a function of the
other (e.g., frequency and sound level)
find more resources at
find more resources at
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