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Effects of Individualized Headphone Correction on Front/Back Discrimination of Virtual Sound Sources Displayed Using Individualized Head Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs)

Individualised Head Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs) were used to process brief noise bursts for a 2-interval forced choice (2IFC) front/back discrimination of virtual sound source locations presented via two models of headphones, frequency responses of which could be made nearly flat for each of 21 listeners using individualised headphone correction filters. In order to remove virtual source timbre as a cue for front/back discrimination, spectral centroid of sources processed using rearward HRTFs were manipulated so as to be more or less similar to that of source processed using frontward HRTFs. As this manipulation reduced front/back discrimination to chance levels for 12 out of 21 listeners, performance of 9 listeners showing "good discrimination" was analysed separately. For these 9 listeners, the virtual sources presented using individualised headphone correction filters supported significantly better front/back discrimination rates than did virtual sources presented without correction to headphone responses.

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