• William A. Yost
  • Ervin R. Hafter
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


In the real world sounds arrive at the two ears with interaural differences of time and intensity and with differences in the spectral pattern of information. George Kuhn, in Chapter 1, showed that these interaural variables can be complex. Wightman et al, in Chapter 2, showed that this complexity may be important for a listener’s ability to localize sounds in space. Presenting these stimuli over headphones allows for exact control of these variables. For instance, a pure-tone sound source in the free field generates both an interaural intensive and a temporal difference. Thus, it is difficult to vary one interaural parameter independently of the other. If the stimulus is delivered by headphones, the tone can be presented with an interaural temporal difference independent of the interaural intensive difference. Anyone who has listened to stimuli presented dichotically (see Table 3-1 for a discription of diotic, monotic, dichotic, etc) over headphones has noticed that the sound image appears to be “inside” the head rather than “out” in the environment. When binaural hearing is studied with headphones, the task is referred to as lateralization. For sounds presented externally to the listener. such as via a loudspeaker, the task is referred to as localization. In this chapter we describe some of the basicdata and theories that pertain to lateralization. The first section covers lateralization of simple stimuli, primarily sinusoids. The second section describes the situations in which the stimuli are more complex.


Sound Source Pure Tone Lateral Location Interaural Time Difference Trading Ratio 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. Yost
  • Ervin R. Hafter

There are no affiliations available

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