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Auditory and Visual Localization: Two Modalities, One World

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While both the auditory and visual modalities are capable of localizing stimuli in the immediate environment, a strong case has been made for the notation that the visual modality is the primary or dominant system for humans. Any direct comparison of the relative acuity of these two sensory channels is difficult to make since the exact conditions of testing have generally been quite different. Similarly, while much is known regarding localization performance in these two modalities when considered separately, the problem of bimodal processing of spatial information has received relatively little information. The latter fact is surprising considering its obvious relevance. The results of a series of experiments that addressed both issues (relative acuity and bimodal processing) indicate that temporal and spatial characteristics of the stimulus array determine the relative efficiency of the modalities. The argument that both localization channels may have evolved to serve a common function, the regulation of gaze, is discussed.

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