Identification of the lateral position of a virtual object based on echoes by humans.

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Authors: Rowan D, Papadopoulos T, Edwards D, Holmes H, Hollingdale A, Evans L, Allen R
Abstract
Echolocation offers a promising approach to improve the quality of life of people with blindness although little is known about the factors influencing object localisation using a ‘searching’ strategy. In this paper, we describe a series of experiments using sighted and blind human listeners and a ‘virtual auditory space’ technique to investigate the effects of the distance and orientation of a reflective object and the effect of stimulus bandwidth on ability to identify the right-versus-left position of the object, with bands of noise and durations from 10-400 ms. We found that performance reduced with increasing object distance. This was more rapid for object orientations where mirror…