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This video, is about how we solve the cone

of confusion.
We talked last time, about how we used
timing differences and level
differences, to infer the location of
sounds with respect to the head.
These cues however, provide us information
only about the horizontal location of
And that creates a cone of confusion.
There is ambiguity in both the vertical
the front/back dimension, if we were to
rely only
on these interaural timing and level
difference cues
by themselves, to tell us where sounds are
But yet, we do perceive where sounds
are in the vertical and front/back
dimensions, even
though we're not as accurate in these
dimensions as we are in the horizontal
So how do we do that?
Well, there are really two ways that we
accomplish this.
And one involves movements that we make.
And that's what I'm going to tell you
about in this video.
And the other involves using sound
And I'm going to tell you more about that,
in the next video.
Okay, so let's talk about our movements,
and how they can tell
us where sounds are located in the
vertical and front back dimensions.
So, a behavior simple as turning our head.
Can help us disambiguate, whether or not a
sound is in front of us, or behind us.
So, if you consider this diagram.
If there's a sound here and a sound here.
Both of these sounds, have the same angle.
With respect to the axis that connects the
two ears.
So that angle, and that angle are, the
That means that they each produce the same
interaural timing difference and the same
interaural loudness difference.
But if you turn your head this way, now
the axis of
the ears is here, and now this sound, is
at this angle.
And this sound, is at this angle.
So, by simply turning our head, we can
tell the difference between a
sound that is in front of us, and a sound
that is behind us.
Now this will only work if the sound is on
enough, that we can compare, before and
after we turn our heads.
So, for very brief sounds head movements
don't really help.
If the sounds lasts as little as half a
second, that's
usually enough for us to sample it, at two
different head positions.
So, that's pretty helpful for the
front-back dimension.
What about the vertical dimension?
Well, the same basic idea holds true here.
Only now the head movement that we need to
is one of tilting our head from side to
So, if you till your head a little bit,
you can create.
An asymmetry between the elevation of one
area in comparison to the other, that will
give you a small timing difference or
level difference, that corresponds to the
vertical dimension.
Again, this is only going to be helpful if
you can compare more
than one head position, otherwise you
would confuse the timing difference that
Due to elevation, with the timing
that might arise due to the horizontal
But if you compare what you hear when your
head is straight up,
with what you hear when your head is
tilted to one side, that
can help you determine whether or not the
timing difference that you experience
in one position compared to the other, is
due to the horizontal dimension.
Or to the vertical dimension.
So that's how we use movements to help us
resolve the ambiguity in where sounds are
located, up
and down and front and back, but it's not
the only trick we have in our tool kit.
In addition, we can also use information
about sound frequency, to help
us figure out the location of sounds, in
all three dimensions of space.
And that's what I'm going to talk about
next time.