Localization of sound in rooms, II: The effects of a single reflecting surface

J Acoust Soc Am. 1985 Aug;78(2):524-33. doi: 10.1121/1.392474.


Auditory localization was studied in a room bounded by a single acoustically reflective surface. The position of that surface was varied so as to stimulate a floor, a ceiling, and left and right side walls. The surface was eliminated in one condition so that we could examine localization in free field for purposes of comparison. Using a source identification method we assessed the influences of these various room configurations on the localization of both slow-onset and impulsive sine tones of low frequency (500 Hz). We also measured the steady-state interaural-time-difference (ITD) and interaural-intensity-difference (IID) cues available to subjects in the different room configurations and compared these data with the perceptual judgments. Our results indicate the following: (1) A sound must include transients if the precedence effect is to operate as an aid to its localization in rooms. (2) Even if transients are present the precedence effect does not eliminate all influences of room reflections. (3) Due to the interference of reflections large interaural intensity differences may occur in a room and these have a considerable influence on localization; this is true even at low frequencies for which IID cues do not exist in a free field. (4) Listeners appear to have certain expectations about the reliability and plausibility of various directional cues and perceptually weight the cues accordingly; we suggest that this may explain, in part, the large variation in time-intensity trading ratios reported in the literature and also the differing reports regarding the importance of onsets for localization. (5) In this study we find that onset cues are of some importance to localization even in free field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Humans
  • Pitch Perception
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Sound Localization*