Auditory object-motion perception during actual self-motion

Wataru Teramoto, Department of Cognitive and Computational Psychophysics, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

We investigated the effect of actual self-motion on auditory object-motion detection. There have been several studies that investigate how eye, head, and whole body movements modulate visual motion processing. However, less is known about their effects on auditory motion processing. Our previous study showed that sounds moving in the congruent directions with visually induced self-motion were detected more quickly and more accurately than those in the conflicting directions, when sounds were presented in rear space (Teramoto et al., 2006 IMRF). In the present study, we used a rotary chair surrounded with random dots and two loudspeakers attached on either the front or the back of the chair, in order to confirm the phenomenon in a more realistic environment. Observers were asked to judge in which direction a sound appeared to move, leftward or rightward, while being rotated around their vertical axis. The results for the rear space condition were consistent with our previous study. On the other hand, those for the front space condition showed that sounds moving in the conflicting directions with self-motion were detected more accurately. The implications of these results are discussed in light of the contribution of the self-motion mechanisms to auditory spatiotemporal processing.

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