Directional selectivity of auditory spatial attention in multi-talker environment.
* Presenting author
When people direct the auditory selective attention in a specific direction, the information from that direction can be perceived easily even in a noisy environment. Understanding how the effect is distributed spatially is important. The extent of spatial distribution may depend on the direction of the attention focus, that is, it may differ between frontal and oblique directions. In the present study, we investigated the dependence of the spatial tuning of auditory selective attention on the focus azimuthal direction. To examine the spatial tuning, speech intelligibility in a complex multi-talker environment was measured. In the experiment, a target sound and multiple distracting speech sounds were presented from loudspeakers surrounding observers. By manipulating the probability of the target presentation directions, the listener’s auditory spatial attention was directed to a specific loudspeaker. The attracted direction was selected as –30, 0, or +30 degrees. Results showed that the greatest improvement in intelligibility was observed at the attracted direction, for all attracted directions. The spatial tuning of attention was narrower for the attracted directions of both –30 and +30 degrees than that of 0 degrees. This means that the attention spotlight is modulated by the direction of the attention.