Gurjit Singh: Interaural level difference cues count when signals come from unexpected locations

Abstract: Auditory spatial attention was investigated in younger and older adults with good audiograms. In conditions of real spatial separation, the target sentence was presented from one spatial location and competing sentences were presented from two different locations. In conditions of simulated spatial separation, differences in the apparent spatial locations of the target and competitors were induced using the precedence effect. The identity of the target voice was cued by a callsign presented either prior to or following the target sentence, and four different probability specifications indicated the likelihood of the target being presented at the three locations. Overall, younger adults performed better than older adults. For both age groups, performance improved with target location certainty, with a priori target cueing, and when location differences were real rather than simulated. This presentation will focus on the key finding that interaural level difference cues conferred a significant advantage when the target occurred at ‘unlikely’ spatial listening locations, but not at likely locations. Both auditory and attentional processes contributed to the pattern of results in a similar fashion for both age groups.