Examining auditory kappa effects through manipulating intensity differences between sequential tones

Psychol Res. 2013 Jul;77(4):480-91. doi: 10.1007/s00426-012-0438-8. Epub 2012 Apr 27.


The auditory kappa effect is a tendency to base the perceived duration of an inter-onset interval (IOI) separating two sequentially presented sounds on the degree of relative pitch distance separating them. Previous research has found that the degree of frequency discrepancy between tones extends the subjective duration of the IOI. In Experiment 1, auditory kappa effects for sound intensity were tested using a three-tone, AXB paradigm (where the intensity of tone X was shifted to be closer to either Tone A or B). Tones closer in intensity level were perceived as occurring closer in time, evidence of an auditory-intensity kappa effect. In Experiments 2 and 3, the auditory motion hypothesis was tested by preceding AXB patterns with null intensity and coherent intensity context sequences, respectively. The auditory motion hypothesis predicts that coherent sequences should enhance the perception of motion and increase the strength of kappa effects. In this study, the presence of context sequences reduced kappa effect strength regardless of the properties of the context tones.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loudness Perception / physiology*
  • Male
  • Pitch Perception / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult