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J Acoust Soc Am. 2004 Dec;116(6):3594-605.

The bat head-related transfer function reveals binaural cues for sound localization in azimuth and elevation.

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Department of Psychology and Institute for Systems Research, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Directional properties of the sound transformation at the ear of four intact echolocating bats, Eptesicus fuscus, were investigated via measurements of the head-related transfer function (HRTF). Contributions of external ear structures to directional features of the transfer functions were examined by remeasuring the HRTF in the absence of the pinna and tragus. The investigation mainly focused on the interactions between the spatial and the spectral features in the bat HRTF. The pinna provides gain and shapes these features over a large frequency band (20-90 kHz), and the tragus contributes gain and directionality at the high frequencies (60 to 90 kHz). Analysis of the spatial and spectral characteristics of the bat HRTF reveals that both interaural level differences (ILD) and monaural spectral features are subject to changes in sound source azimuth and elevation. Consequently, localization cues for horizontal and vertical components of the sound source location interact. Availability of multiple cues about sound source azimuth and elevation should enhance information to support reliable sound localization. These findings stress the importance of the acoustic information received at the two ears for sound localization of sonar target position in both azimuth and elevation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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