Authors: Oana BĂLAN, Alin MOLDOVEANU, Alexandru BUTEAN, Florica MOLDOVEANU
in: 11th International Scientific Conference on eLearning and software for Education, Bucharest, 2015
Abstract: The following paper aims to present a comparative study on the audio localization accuracy (directional judgment, absolute spatial perception and rate of front-back confusions- situation in which the listener perceives the sound coming from the front as coming from the rear and vice-versa) in both free-field and virtual sound source conditions. Sound localization experiments in the free-field rely on the use of loudspeakers for delivering the auditory information to the listener. On the other hand, virtual auditory displays are based on 3D sounds (resulting from the filtering of a particular sound with the Head Related Transfer Function (HRTF) corresponding to the direction of the sound source in space) that are rendered to the listener through a pair of stereophonic headphones. 3D sounds are used in a wide range of applications, as they can simulate the perception of an external sound source in real-world hearing conditions and generally increase situational awareness. Nonetheless, they can introduce several localization errors (caused primarily by the use of non-individualized Head Related Transfer Functions), such as poor performance in the median plane (for vertical localization) and an increase in the rate of front-back confusions, especially for the directions of 0 degrees (to the front) and 180 degrees (to the rear). As a result, we intend to include in our research a comprehensive psychophysical evaluation, interpretation and analysis of the accuracy of free-field and headphones-presented stimuli localization, in order to bring to light the auditory particularities that differentiate sound localization performance under the two presented conditions.