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Authors Litovsky RY, Godar SP
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Journal J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume: 128 Issue: 4 Pages: 1979-91
Publish Date 2010 Oct
PubMed ID 20968369
PMC ID 2981114

The precedence effect refers to the fact that humans are able to localize sound in reverberant environments, because the auditory system assigns greater weight to the direct sound (lead) than the later-arriving sound (lag). In this study, absolute sound localization was studied for single source stimuli and for dual source lead-lag stimuli in 4-5 year old children and adults. Lead-lag delays ranged from 5-100 ms. Testing was conducted in free field, with pink noise bursts emitted from loudspeakers positioned on a horizontal arc in the frontal field. Listeners indicated how many sounds were heard and the perceived location of the first- and second-heard sounds. Results suggest that at short delays (up to 10 ms), the lead dominates sound localization strongly at both ages, and localization errors are similar to those with single-source stimuli. At longer delays errors can be large, stemming from over-integration of the lead and lag, interchanging of perceived locations of the first-heard and second-heard sounds due to temporal order confusion, and dominance of the lead over the lag. The errors are greater for children than adults. Results are discussed in the context of maturation of auditory and non-auditory factors.

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