8th Annual Meeting of the International Multisensory Research Forum
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Erol Ozmeral

Simple Visual Cues Enhance the Identification of Target Sounds in Complex Auditory Scenes
Poster Presentation

Erol Ozmeral
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Boston University, Boston USA

Virginia Best
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Boston University, Boston USA

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Boston University, Boston USA

     Abstract ID Number: 133
     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: June 25, 2007
     Presentation date: 07/06/2007 10:00 AM in Quad Maclauren Hall
     (View Schedule)

We investigated the extent to which non-auditory cues for directing auditory attention improved the ability to identify an acoustic target embedded in a complex auditory scene. Two types of stimuli were used: 1) sequences of spoken digits with reversed digits as distracters and 2) familiar Zebra Finch songs with unfamiliar songs as distracters. Subjects were seated in front of five loudspeakers (-40° to +40° azimuth, 1 m distance), each mounted with an LED. Five different streams played simultaneously from the five loudspeakers. The listener identified a target, which occurred from one of the loudspeakers at a random time. There were four conditions: 1) all LEDs turned on during the target time-slice (“when” cue), 2) the target LED remained on throughout the trial (“where” cue), 3) the target LED turned on during the target time-slice only (“when and where” cue), and 4) no LEDs turned on (“no cue”). “When and where” cues yielded the best performance; “no cue” produced the worst; the other conditions were intermediate. The results demonstrate that in a complex auditory scene, a simple visual cue can improve the ability of listeners to extract information about an auditory target. [Work supported by grants from AFOSR & ONR]

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