Søren Buus was one of the pioneers in the study of across-channel auditory processing. His influential 1985 paper showed that introducing slow fluctuations to a low-frequency masker could reduce the detection thresholds of a high-frequency signal by as much as 25 dB [S. Buus, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 78, 1958–1965 (1985)]. Søren explained this surprising result in terms of the spread of masker excitation and across-channel processing of envelope fluctuations. A later study [S. Buus and C. Pan, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 96, 1445–1457 (1994)] pioneered the use of the same stimuli in tasks where across-channel processing could either help or hinder performance. In the present set of studies we also use paradigms in which across-channel processing can lead to either improvement or deterioration in performance. We show that sequential grouping constraints can affect both types of paradigm. In particular, the perceptual segregation of off-frequency from on-frequency components, using sound sequences preceding or following the target, leads to results similar to those found in the absence of the off-frequency components. This suggests a high-level locus for some across-channel effects, and may help provide a functional distinction between within- and across-channel mechanisms.
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