Effects of Target Speech Distance on Auditory Spatial Attention in Noisy Environment
* Presenting author
When people perceive auditory information in a noisy environment, auditory spatial attention plays an important role in extracting the information from the target sound source. For auditory spatial attention, the effects of distance have been unclear while many researchers have pointed out the effects of directional characteristics. In this study, we investigated the relationship between auditory spatial attention and the distance of the target speech sound. In the experiment, background multi-talker noise was presented 1 m from the listeners. Target speech sound was presented at one of four distances: 0.13, 0.25, 0.5, or 1 m. By changing the target’s appearance probability for each distance, the listener's attention was implicitly focused at a specific distance. Listeners were asked to respond as soon as the target speech sound was perceived. Experimental results clearly revealed that the listeners show faster responses to the target speech sound at the focused distance than to that at other distances. Moreover, when the listeners' attention was focused at a very near distance, the response became fast even when the target was located at other distances. These results suggest that sounds located at very near distances could enhance the spatial selectivity of auditory selective attention.