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Human echolocation: Acoustic gaze for burst trains and continuous noise
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Speech, Music and Hearing, TMH. Catholic Univ Louvain, Belgum.
2016 (English)In: Applied Acoustics, ISSN 0003-682X, E-ISSN 1872-910X, Vol. 106, 77-86 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

This study explored the ability of blind and sighted listeners to detect reflections, "echoes", of burst trains or continuous noise. Echo detection was compared by presenting 5 ms bursts, rates from 1 to 64 bursts, with a continuous white noise, all during 500 ms. Sounds were recorded in an ordinary room through an artificial binaural head, the loudspeaker 1 m behind it. The reflecting object was an aluminum disk, diameter 0.5 m, placed at 1 m. The sounds were presented to 12 blind and 26 sighted participants in a laboratory using a 2-Alternative-Forced-Choice methodology. The task was to detect which of two sounds contained an echo. In Experiment 2, 1.5 m distance sounds were presented to the blind only. At 1 m, detection for the blind increased up to 64 bursts/500 ms, but for the sighted up to 32 bursts. At 1.5 m, the peak performance for the blind was at 32 bursts. At the 1 m, but not at the 1.5 m distance, the blind performed best with continuous white noise. The overlap in time of signal and echo at 1 m for 64 bursts was 60%, but at 1.5 m 82%. Avoiding an overlap between emitted bursts and returning echoes seems important for echolocation, indicating that an acoustic gaze, analogous to in echolocating animals, may also exist in humans.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 106, 77-86 p.
Keyword [en]
Blind, Echolocation, Bursts, Noise, Orientation
National Category
Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-184946DOI: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2015.12.008ISI: 000371193500009ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84954192878OAI: diva2:917823

QC 20160407

Available from: 2016-04-07 Created: 2016-04-07 Last updated: 2016-04-07Bibliographically approved

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Schenkman, Bo N.
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