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# Sound Localization How do you locate a sound?

? If an owl was hooting in the woods at night, how would you know where it was? Similar dilemma to determining how far an object is Two ears: Critical for determining auditory Locations Auditory Space Perception The auditory system helps us to perceive spatial locations of events, especially their direction in space from us. We can also perceive the distances of sounds to some degree. Auditory Space Perception The auditory system helps perceive spatial locations of events Direction in space from us Distance There are multiple ways in which direction is computed by auditory processes, due to: differences among sounds differences among situations, combination of processes. Auditory Space Perception Most auditory space information depends on the fact we have two ears in different positions. As in stereoscopic depth in vision, the two ears work as a system. Auditory Space Perception Differences in the arrival at the two ears of an ONSET of a sound can be used to localize it. Interaural Time Difference (ITD) The difference in time between a sound arriving at one ear versus the other. retina vs ears

## Different Inputs to the Two Ears

Azimuth An imaginary circle that extends around us, in a horizontal plane. Can analyze ITD: Where would a sound source need to be located to produce maximum possible ITD? What location would lead to minimum possible ITD? What would happen at intermediate locations? Interaural time differences for sound sources varying in azimuth from directly in front of listeners (0 degrees) to directly behind (180 degrees)

## Interaural time differences for different positions around the head

Auditory Space Perception Differences in the arrival at the two ears of an ONSET of a sound can be used to localize it. Differences in the PHASE of sound waves arriving at the two ears can be used for localization.

Speed of sound: 1100 ft / sec Extra 2/3 feet (8) around head takes .0006 sec = .6 msec DELAY (to far ear) of .6 msec is small relative to 10 msec time for one wave cycle.

Speed of sound: 1100 ft / sec DELAY (to far ear) of .6 msec is LARGE relative to 1 msec time for one wave cycle. (1 msec) (10 msec) Extra 2/3 feet (8) around head takes .0006 sec = .6 msec

This is why you have trouble hearing the direction of pure high frequencies. (battery low in fire alarm) Auditory Space Perception Differences in the arrival at the two ears of an ONSET of a sound can be used to localize it. Differences in the PHASE of sound waves arriving at the two ears can be used for localization. Differences in the INTENSITY of soundwaves arriving at the two ears can be used for localization. Sound Localization Interaural time differences (ITD): The difference in time between a sound arriving at one ear versus the other Azimuth: The angle of a sound source on the horizon relative to a point in the center of the head between the ears Measured in degrees, with 0 degrees being straight ahead Angle increases clockwise, with 180 degrees being directly behind Sound Localization Interaural level difference (ILD): The difference in level (intensity) between a sound arriving at one ear versus the other For frequencies greater than 1000 Hz, the head blocks some of the energy reaching the opposite ear ILD is largest at 90 degrees and 90 degrees; nonexistent for 0 degrees and 180 degrees ILD generally correlates with angle of sound source, but correlation is not quite as great as it is with ITDs The two ears receive slightly different inputs when the sound source is located to one side or the other

Interaural level (intensity) differences (ILDs) for tones of different frequencies presented at different positions around the head (Part 1)

Interaural level (intensity) differences (ILDs) for tones of different frequencies presented at different positions around the head (Part 2)

## Phase and intensity have complementary role

Sound Localization Potential problem with using ITDs and ILDs for sound localization: Cone of confusion: A region of positions in space where all sounds produce the same ITDs and ILDs Elevation adds another dimension to sound localization (Part 1)

## Elevation adds another dimension to sound localization (Part 2)

Sound Localization Overcoming the cone of confusion Turning the head can disambiguate ILD/ITD Similarity

Sound Localization Shape and form of pinnae helps determine localization of sound Head-related transfer function (HRTF): A function that describes how the pinnae, ear canals, head, and torso change the intensity of sounds with different frequencies that arrive at each ear from different locations in space (azimuth and elevation) Each person has their own HRTF (based on their own body) and uses it to help locate sounds Directional transfer functions (DTFs)

## The effect of elevation on DTFs

The shape of the PINNAE also helps resolve ambiguities in sound location, primarily for highfrequency sounds. The pinnae funnel certain sound frequencies better than others, and the intensity of each frequency varies depending on the direction of the sound. With someone elses pinna you will have trouble indicating the direction of a sound. (and can get weird perceptions, like front-back permutations, and inside-the-head localization.

Sound Localization Auditory distance perception Simplest cue: Relative intensity of sound Inverse-square law: As distance from a source increases, intensity decreases faster such that decrease in intensity is the distance squared Spectral composition of sounds: Higher frequencies decrease in energy more than lower frequencies as sound waves travel from source to one ear Relative amounts of direct versus reverberant Energy Complex Sounds Harmonics Lowest frequency of harmonic spectrum: Fundamental frequency Auditory system is acutely sensitive to natural relationships between harmonics What happens when first harmonic is missing? Missing-fundamental effect: The pitch listeners hear corresponds to the fundamental frequency, even if it is missing Many environmental sounds, including voices, are harmonic

If the fundamental (lowest frequency) of a harmonic sound is removed, listeners still hear the pitch of this missing fundamental

When only three harmonics of the same fundamental frequency are presented, listeners still hear the pitch of the missing fundamental frequency (Part 1)

When only three harmonics of the same fundamental frequency are presented, listeners still hear the pitch of the missing fundamental frequency (Part 2)

Complex Sounds Timbre: Psychological sensation by which a listener can judge that two sounds with the same fundamental loudness and pitch are dissimilar Timbre conveyed by harmonics and other frequencies Perception of timbre depends on context in which sound is heard Both physical context and sound context

Complex Sounds Attack and decay of sound Attack: Part of a sound during which amplitude increases (onset) Decay: Part of a sound during which amplitude decreases (offset) We use the onsets of sounds (attacks) to identify them

Auditory Scene Analysis What happens in natural situations? Acoustic environment can be a busy place with multiple sound sources How does the auditory system sort out these sources? Source segregation (or auditory scene analysis): Processing an auditory scene consisting of multiple sound sources into separate sound images Separating sounds from one another is like living in a visual world made of glass

Auditory Scene Analysis A number of strategies to segregate sound sources: Spatial separation between sounds Separation based on sounds spectral or temporal qualities

Auditory stream segregation: The perceptual organization of a complex acoustic signal into separate auditory events for which each stream is heard as a separate event Auditory Scene Analysis Grouping by timbre Tones that have increasing and decreasing frequencies, or tones that deviate from a rising/falling pattern pop out of the sequence Timbre affects how sounds are grouped

Auditory Scene Analysis Grouping by onset When sounds begin at the same time, or nearly the same time, they appear to be coming from the same sound source This helps group different harmonics into a single complex tone Consistent with the Gestalt law of common fate Spectrograms of a bottle bouncing (a) or breaking (b)

Auditory Scene Analysis People are surprisingly good at learning how to recognize a completely new sound McDermott, Wroblewski, & Oxenham (2011) Created novel sounds and played them many times in combination with other novel sounds that did not repeat Listeners needed very few repetitions to learn the new sounds, even though they never heard them in isolation The listeners task was to identify a novel complex sound when the target and another complex sound overlapped in one combined sound. (b) A new target was repeatedly played at the same time as different distracters

Continuity and Restoration Effects How do we know that listeners really hear a sound as continuous? Principle of good continuation: In spite of interruptions, one can still hear a sound Experiments using a signal detection task (e.g.,

Kluender and Jenison, 1992) suggest that missing sounds are restored and encoded in the brain as if they were actually present! When a sound is deleted and replaced with a loud noise, listeners will hear the sound as if it continues through the noise

Continuity and Restoration Effects Restoration of complex sounds (e.g., music, speech) Listeners use higher-order sources of information, not just auditory information, to restore missing segments Gaps in a sound stream are less detrimental if filled with noise rather than with silence With noisy gaps, listeners cant even reliably specify where the gaps were Adding noise improves comprehension