This article describes a technique to measure binaural integration time. A binaural noise with an interaural time difference of 0.8 msec was presented in three conditions: alone, with intervening noise that was identical between the two ears, or with uncorrelated intervening noise. Both behavioral responses and evoked potentials were recorded. When the stimulus was presented in a quiet background, it was accurately detected and lateralized with durations as short as 2 msec. The N1 peak of the evoked potential occurred at approximately 90 msec. When the stimulus occurred as a brief change in an ongoing correlated binaural noise, a duration of 10 msec was necessary before the sound could be accurately lateralized or an evoked potential elicited. The N1 peak occurred at approximately 120 msec. When the stimulus occurred as a change in an ongoing uncorrelated binaural noise, a duration of 60 msec was necessary for the subject to later-alize the stimulus and for an evoked potential to be elicited. The N1 peak occurred at about 130 msec. These results suggest that a period of approximately 60 msec is required to detect the correlation of an ongoing binaural noise and that a somewhat shorter period is necessary to track changes in a sound source that has already been lateralized. The simplicity of this technique makes it an attractive tool for assessing central auditory function.
Address reprint requests to Terence W. Picton, Human Neurosciences Research Unit, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Rd., K1H 8M5, Canada.
Parts of this research were presented at the Eastern Association of Electroencephalography (December 1, 1988).
Received March 5, 1991; accepted August 29, 1991.
© Williams & Wilkins 1991. All Rights Reserved.