Mershon D H, Bowers J N, 1979, "Absolute and relative cues for the auditory perception of egocentric distance" Perception 8(3) 311 – 322
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Absolute and relative cues for the auditory perception of egocentric distance
Donald H Mershon, John N Bowers
Received 12 January 1979, in revised form 20 March 1979
Abstract. Three experiments were performed to examine the reverberation cue to egocentric auditory distance and to determine the extent to which such a cue could provide 'absolute', as contrasted with 'relative', information about distance. In experiment 1 independent groups of blindfolded observers (200 altogether) were presented with broadband noise from a speaker at one of five different distances (0.55 to 8 m) in a normal hard-walled room. Half of each group of observers were presented with the sound at 0 deg azimuth, followed (after a delay) by the identical sound at 90 deg azimuth. The order of presentation was reversed for the remaining observers. Perceived distance varied significantly as a function of the physical distance to the speaker, even for the first presentations. The change in the binaural information between the 0 deg and 90 deg presentations did not significantly modify the results. For both orientations, near distances were overestimated and far distances were underestimated. Experiments 2 and 3 were designed to evaluate how much prior auditory exposure to the laboratory environment was necessary. A 200 Hz square-wave signal was presented from one of three distances (1, 2, or 6 m) to observers who had either minimal room information or an exposure which included talking within the room. Perceived distance varied significantly with physical distance regardless of exposure condition.
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