Auditory frequency discrimination development depends on the assessment procedure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental gains in performance on auditory discrimination tasks are often attributed to either sensory or attentional factors. Here we show that depending on the assessment procedure, auditory frequency discrimination thresholds are either adult-like by 8 years of age (when measured with an oddball procedure) or still not adult-like by 14 years of age (when measured with a 2-interval-2-alternative-forced-choice high/low identification procedure). Because the stimuli used in the two assessment procedures were similar, sensory maturation seems unlikely to account for the discrepancy between the two procedures. To determine whether inattention could account for the prolonged development of performance in the identification procedure, within-listener performance variability was analyzed. Among the 14 year-old participants, we found no evidence for an association between increased performance variability and elevated discrimination thresholds. These findings suggest that attentional factors alone were also not likely to contribute to the group differences. It therefore seems likely that cognitive functions other than sensation and attention are responsible for the development of auditory discrimination, and furthermore that these functions continue to develop during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the US National Institute of Health (NIH/NIDCD F32DC008052) and by the Morasha program of the Israel Science Foundation. I would like to thank David Moore from the MRC Institute of Hearing Research for his permission to use the video game developed by the institute to run the oddball experiment, and Merav Ahissar,


  • auditory processing
  • development
  • psychoacoustics
  • psychophysics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


Dive into the research topics of 'Auditory frequency discrimination development depends on the assessment procedure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this