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Journal Article


Oldfield SR, Parker SP. Perception 1984; 13(5): 581-600.


(Copyright © 1984, SAGE Publications)






Eight subjects were required to localise a sound source (white noise through a speaker) which varied in position on both sides of the head over a range of elevations (-40 degrees to +40 degrees) and azimuths (0 degree to 180 degrees) at 10 degrees intervals. The perceived position of the source was indicated by pointing a special gun. Depression of the trigger activated a photographic system which recorded two views of the subject, the sound source, and the gun. The absolute and algebraic, azimuth and elevation errors were measured for all subjects at each position of the source. The variability of azimuth and elevation error was also computed. In a second experiment, four of the same subjects performed the same task but in this case visually located the sources. This experiment provided an estimate of inherent motor error in the pointing task. No differences in localisation acuity between sides were found, but there were significant differences between front and back regions. Azimuth and elevation error were well matched and low in the front. However, azimuth error increased in the regions behind the head, particularly for azimuth positions 120 degrees to 160 degrees. Larger increases were found for positions in the upper elevations of this region. Elevation error also increased in the upper elevations behind the head. A comparison of the auditory and visual data indicates that this pattern of error is not due to motor factors. The results are discussed in relation to the structural characteristics of the pinnae and modifications that they impose on incoming sound energy.

Language: en


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