This research explores how expectations about room acoustics influence the perceived quality when a listener is forced into an acoustical environment that is different from the actual listening room. The difference is the so-called room divergence effect. In listening tests, the expectations of the listeners were altered in order to measure an effect on the perception of externalization. Two groups of 31 listeners were familiarized with two different rooms using a localization test with visual directional feedback. One group was familiarized with a reverberant room and the other group with an acoustically dry room. Audio signals were presented with a static and individualized binaural headphone reproduction system. The disparity between the group ratings represents the effect of training on externalization. The results show that training modifies the listeners’ expectations. The reduction of the room divergence effect after training is an indicator for the existence of an auditory room model that is based on prior knowledge and expectations.
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