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Hear Res. 2000 Jun;144(1-2):73-88.

Head-related transfer functions of the Rhesus monkey.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, 97403, Eugene, OR,


Head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) are direction-specific acoustic filters formed by the head, the pinnae and the ear canals. They can be used to assess acoustical cues available for sound localization and to construct virtual auditory environments. We measured the HRTFs of three anesthetized Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) from 591 locations in the frontal hemisphere ranging from -90 degrees (left) to 90 degrees (right) in azimuth and -60 degrees (down) to 90 degrees (up) in elevation for frequencies between 0.5 and 15 kHz. Acoustic validation of the HRTFs shows good agreement between free field and virtual sound sources. Monaural spectra exhibit deep notches at frequencies above 9 kHz, providing putative cues for elevation discrimination. Interaural level differences (ILDs) and interaural time differences (ITDs) generally vary monotonically with azimuth between 0.5 and 8 kHz, suggesting that these two cues can be used to discriminate azimuthal position. Comparison with published subsets of HRTFs from squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) shows good agreement. Comparison with published human HRTFs from the frontal hemisphere demonstrates overall similarity in the patterns of ILD and ITD, suggesting that the Rhesus monkey is a good acoustic model for these two sound localization cues in humans. Finally, the measured ITDs in the horizontal plane agree well between -40 degrees and 40 degrees in azimuth with those calculated from a spherical head model with a radius of 52 mm, one-half the interaural distance of the monkey.

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