The Effect Of Training On Frequency Discrimination: Generalization To Untrained Frequencies And To The Untrained Ear

Daphne Ari Even Roth, Ofer Amir, Liron Alaluf, Simona Buchsenspanner, Liat Kishon-Rabin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While there is growing evidence that frequency discrimination improves with practice, there are, however, limited and inclusive reports regarding the generalization of learning to untrained conditions. The goals of the present study were therefore (1) to measure the effect of multi-session training on difference limen frequency (DLF) thresholds and evaluate the relative contribution of procedural and stimulus learning by comparison to a control (untrained) group; (2) to evaluate the extent of generalization of the trained frequency to two untrained frequencies known to be temporally coded; and (3) to estimate the generalization of the trained frequency to the untrained ear, for both trained and untrained frequencies. Two groups of subjects were included: a trained group (n = 5) and a control group (n = 5). For the trained group, DLF thresholds for 1 kHz (trained frequency) and 1.1 and 2.0 kHz (untrained frequencies) were obtained using a two-interval, two-alternative forced choice paradigm before and after an eight-session training. The control group was tested using the same stimuli only twice, with a 3-week interval between testing. Results showed that (1) multi-session training improves frequency discrimination in normal hearing young adults; (2) adding a control group to the study allowed estimation of the effect of limited exposure to the stimuli and task in naive listeners and evaluation of the magnitude of procedural learning; (3) learning was generalized across frequencies that are coded by similar mechanisms; (4) generalization of learning occurred in the untrained ear for trained and untrained frequencies. These results have important clinical and theoretical implications regarding the processes underlying perceptual learning and the effectiveness of auditory habilitation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • DLF
  • frequency difference limen
  • frequency discrimination
  • generalization
  • perceptual learning
  • plasticity
  • training


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