Spectro-temporal modulation transfer functions and speech intelligibility

Tai-Shih Chi, Yujie Gao, Matthew C. Guyton, Powen Ru, Shihab Shamma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Scopus citations


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 (Ω cycles/octave) and drifting velocity (ω 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 (Ω=0) [Viemeister, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 66, 1364-1380 (1979)] and purely spectral MTFs (ω=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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2719-2732
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 18 Nov 1999


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