Effect of source spectrum on sound localization in an everyday reverberant room

Antje Ihlefeld, Barbara G. Shinn-Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Two experiments explored how frequency content impacts sound localization for sounds containing reverberant energy. Virtual sound sources from thirteen lateral angles and four distances were simulated in the frontal horizontal plane using binaural room impulse responses measured in an everyday office. Experiment 1 compared localization judgments for one-octave-wide noise centered at either 750 Hz (low) or 6000 Hz (high). For both band-limited noises, perceived lateral angle varied monotonically with source angle. For frontal sources, perceived locations were similar for low- and high-frequency noise; however, for lateral sources, localization was less accurate for low-frequency noise than for high-frequency noise. With increasing source distance, judgments of both noises became more biased toward the median plane, an effect that was greater for low-frequency noise than for high-frequency noise. In Experiment 2, simultaneous presentation of low- and high-frequency noises yielded performance that was less accurate than that for high-frequency noise, but equal to or better than for low-frequency noise. Results suggest that listeners perceptually weight low-frequency information heavily, even in reverberant conditions where high-frequency stimuli are localized more accurately. These findings show that listeners do not always optimally adjust how localization cues are integrated over frequency in reverberant settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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