Spatial Hearing with Incongruent Visual or Auditory Room Cues

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Abstract

In day-to-day life, humans usually perceive the location of sound sources as outside their heads. This externalized auditory spatial perception can be reproduced through headphones by recreating the sound pressure generated by the source at the listener’s eardrums. This requires the acoustical features of the recording environment and listener’s anatomy to be recorded at the listener’s ear canals. Although the resulting auditory images can be indistinguishable from real-world sources, their externalization may be less robust when the playback and recording environments differ. Here we tested whether a mismatch between playback and recording room reduces perceived distance, azimuthal direction, and compactness of the auditory image, and whether this is mostly due to incongruent auditory cues or to expectations generated from the visual impression of the room. Perceived distance ratings decreased significantly when collected in a more reverberant environment than the recording room, whereas azimuthal direction and compactness remained room independent. Moreover, modifying visual room-related cues had no effect on these three attributes, while incongruent auditory room-related cues between the recording and playback room did affect distance perception. Consequently, the external perception of virtual sounds depends on the degree of congruency between the acoustical features of the environment and the stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37342
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
Number of pages10
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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