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Hearing in Three Dimensions: Sound Localization

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Our ability to localize a source of sound in space is a fundamental component of the three-dimensional character of the -Sound of Audio.- For over a century scientists have been trying to understand the physical and psychological processes and physiological mechanisms that subserve sound localization. This research has shown that important information about sound source position is provided by interaural differences in time of arrival, interaural differences in intensity, and direction-dependent filtering provided by the pinnae. Progress has been slow, primarily because experiments on localization are technically demanding. Control of stimulus parameters and quantification of the subjective experience are quite difficult problems. Recent advances, such as the ability to simulate a three-dimensional sound field over headphones, seem to offer potential for rapid progress. Research using the new techniques has already produced new information. It now seems that interaural time differences are a much more salient and dominant localization cue than previously believed.

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