1 Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Hearing Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Boys Town National Research Hospital
Ten normally hearing listeners used a programmable sone-potentiometer knob to adjust the level of a 1000-Hz sinusoid to match the loudness of numbers presented to them in a magnitude production task. Three different power-law exponents (0.15, 0.30, and 0.60) and a log-law with equal steps in dB were used to program the sone-potentiometer. The knob settings systematically influenced the form of the loudness function. Time series analysis was used to assess the sequential dependencies in the data, which increased with increasing exponent and were greatest for the log-law. It would be possible, therefore, to choose knob properties that minimized these dependencies. When the sequential dependencies were removed from the data, the slope of the loudness functions did not change, but the variability decreased. Sequential dependencies were only present when the level of the tone on the previous trial was higher than on the current trial. According to the attention band hypothesis[Green and Luce, 1974, Perception & Psychophysics] these dependencies arise from a process similar to selective attention, but observations of rapid adaptation of neurons in the inferior colliculus based on stimulus level statistics [Dean et al., 2005, Nature Neuroscience] would also account for the data.