Spectro-temporal modulation transfer functions and speech intelligibility

J Acoust Soc Am. 1999 Nov;106(5):2719-32. doi: 10.1121/1.428100.


Detection thresholds for spectral and temporal modulations are measured using broadband spectra with sinusoidally rippled profiles that drift up or down the log-frequency axis at constant velocities. Spectro-temporal modulation transfer functions (MTFs) are derived as a function of ripple peak density (omega cycles/octave) and drifting velocity (omega Hz). The MTFs exhibit a low-pass function with respect to both dimensions, with 50% bandwidths of about 16 Hz and 2 cycles/octave. The data replicate (as special cases) previously measured purely temporal MTFs (omega = 0) [Viemeister, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 66, 1364-1380 (1979)] and purely spectral MTFs (omega = 0) [Green, in Auditory Frequency Selectivity (Plenum, Cambridge, 1986), pp. 351-359]. A computational auditory model is presented that exhibits spectro-temporal MTFs consistent with the salient trends in the data. The model is used to demonstrate the potential relevance of these MTFs to the assessment of speech intelligibility in noise and reverberant conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Speech Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors