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A novel concept for dynamic adjustment of auditory space

Scient Rep 8:8335. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26690-0.

Authors/Editors: Lingner A
Pecka M
Leibold C
Grothe B
Publication Date: 2018
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018

Abstract

Traditionally, the auditory system is thought to serve reliable sound localization. Stimulus-history driven feedback circuits in the early binaural pathway, however, contradict this canonical concept and raise questions about their functional significance. Here we show that stimulus-history dependent changes in absolute space perception are poorly captured by the traditional labeled-line and hemispheric-difference models of auditory space coding. We therefore developed a new decoding model incorporating recent electrophysiological findings in which sound location is initially computed in both brain hemispheres independently and combined to yield a hemispherically balanced code. This model closely captures the observed absolute localization errors caused by stimulus history, and furthermore predicts a selective dilation and compression of perceptional space. These model predictions are confirmed by improvement and degradation of spatial resolution in human listeners. Thus, dynamic perception of auditory space facilitates focal sound source segregation at the expense of absolute sound localization, questioning existing concepts of spatial hearing.

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