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Auditory Localisation Biases Increase with Sensory Uncertainty

Garcia, S.E.; Jones, P.R.; Rubin, G.S.; Nardini, M.

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S.E. Garcia

P.R. Jones

G.S. Rubin


Psychophysical studies have frequently found that adults with normal hearing exhibit systematic errors (biases) in their auditory localisation judgments. Here we tested (i) whether systematic localisation errors could reflect reliance on prior knowledge, as has been proposed for other systematic perceptual biases, and (ii) whether auditory localisation biases can be reduced following training with accurate visual feedback. Twenty-four normal hearing participants were asked to localise the position of a noise burst along the azimuth before, during, and after training with visual feedback. Consistent with reliance on prior knowledge to reduce sensory uncertainty, we found that auditory localisation biases increased when auditory localisation uncertainty increased. Specifically, participants mis-localised auditory stimuli as being more eccentric than they were, and did so more when auditory uncertainty was greater. However, biases also increased with eccentricity, despite no corresponding increase in uncertainty, which is not readily explained by use of a simple prior favouring peripheral locations. Localisation biases decreased (improved) following training with visual feedback, but the reliability of the visual feedback stimulus did not change the effects of training. We suggest that further research is needed to identify alternative mechanisms, besides use of prior knowledge, that could account for increased perceptual biases under sensory uncertainty.


Garcia, S., Jones, P., Rubin, G., & Nardini, M. (2017). Auditory Localisation Biases Increase with Sensory Uncertainty. Scientific Reports, 7, Article 40567.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Jan 11, 2017
Publication Date Jan 11, 2017
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jan 12, 2017
Journal Scientific Reports
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 40567


Published Journal Article (689 Kb)

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