can learning a frequency discrimination task occur without discrimination?

Daphne Ari Even Roth*, Rachely Refael-Taub, Rinat Sharvit, Liat Kishon -Rabin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following a recent report by Moore (Auditory learning: implications for speech perception. Proceedings of ISCA Workshop on Plasticity in Speech Perception [PSP2005], London, UK, 2005), showing in a frequency discrimination task that perceptual learning can occur in the absence of perceived stimuli, we further investigated the effects of training with identical stimuli (i.e. no perceptual difference between the stimuli) on frequency discrimination thresholds (DLF) and evaluated the influence of task demands on the degree of improvement following such training. A total of 20 adult normalhearing participants were randomly assigned into three experimental groups: a “DLF-task” group, a “DLI-task” group, and a control group. For all groups, three DLF thresholds were obtained using an adaptive technique with feedback. For the two experimental groups, training was provided using two intervals of identical tone pairs. The participants in the “DLF-task” group were asked to select the tone with the higher pitch, whereas the participants in the “DLI-task” group, were instructed to select the louder of two tones. For the control group, DLF threshold-seeking tests were separated by two time intervals with no training. The results showed that: (1) training on a DLF task with identical stimuli can improve performance; (2) limited exposure to the stimuli and task in a group of naïve listeners can already induce significant fast changes in performance; and (3) changing the task demands (i.e. to a DLI task) reduced improvement compared to.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • auditory training
  • DLF
  • feedback
  • frequency difference limen
  • frequency discrimination
  • perceptual learning
  • task demand


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