The octave illusion revisited again.

University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception & Performance (Impact Factor: 3.11). 05/2004; 30(2):355-64. DOI: 10.1037/0096-1523.30.2.355
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The octave illusion (D. Deutsch, 1974) occurs when 2 tones separated by an octave are alternated repeatedly, such that when the right ear receives the high tone, the left ear receives the low tone, and vice versa. Most subjects in the original study reported hearing a single tone that alternated from ear to ear, whose pitch also alternated from octave to octave, and D. Deutsch (1975a) proposed an explanation in terms of separate what and where auditory pathways. C. D. Chambers, J. B. Mattingley, and S. A. Moss (2002) argued that the perceived pitch difference generally corresponds more to a semitone and proposed an alternative explanation in terms of diplacusis. This article argues that Chambers et al. used problematic procedures and reports a new experiment on the octave illusion. The findings confirm that an octave difference is generally perceived, and they agree with the model of Deutsch (1975a) but are at variance with the diplacusis hypothesis.

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