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Investigating Auditory Room Size Perception with Autophonic Stimuli

Although looking at a room gives a visual indicator of its “size,” auditory stimuli alone can also provide an appreciation of room size. This paper investigates such aurally perceived room size by allowing listeners to hear the sound of their own voice in real-time through two modes: natural conduction and auralization. The auralization process involved convolution of the talking-listener’s voice with an oral-binaural room impulse response (OBRIR; some from actual rooms, and others manipulated), which was output through head-worn ear-loudspeakers, and thus augmented natural conduction with simulated room reflections. This method allowed talking-listeners to rate room size without additional information about the rooms. The subjective ratings were analyzed against relevant physical acoustic measures derived from OBRIRs. The results indicate an overall strong effect of reverberation time on the room size judgments, expressed as a power function, although energy measures were also important in some cases.

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