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An Investigation Into Head Movements Made When Evaluating Various Attributes of Sound

This research extends the study of head movements during listening by including various listening tasks where the listeners evaluate spatial impression and timbre, in addition to the more common task of judging source location. Subjective tests were conducted in which the listeners were allowed to move their heads freely whilst listening to various types of sound and asked to evaluate source location, apparent source width, envelopment, and timbre. The head movements were recorded with a head tracker attached to the listener’s head. From the recorded data, the maximum range of movement, mean position and speed, and maximum speed were calculated along each axis of translational and rotational movement. The effects of various independent variables, such as the attribute being evaluated, the stimulus type, the number of repetition, and the simulated source location were examined through statistical analysis. The results showed that whilst there were differences between the head movements of individual subjects, across all listeners the range of movement was greatest when evaluating source width and envelopment, less when localising sources, and least when judging timbre. In addition, the range and speed of head movement was reduced for transient signals compared to longer musical or speech phrases. Finally, in most cases for the judgement of spatial attributes, head movement was in the direction of source direction.

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