The Echobot: An automated system for stimulus presentation in studies of human echolocation

Autoři: Carlos Tirado aff001;  Peter Lundén aff001;  Mats E. Nilsson aff001
Působiště autorů: Gösta Ekman Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden aff001;  Research Institute of Sweden, Borås, Sweden aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223327


Echolocation is the detection and localization of objects by listening to the sounds they reflect. Early studies of human echolocation used real objects that the experimental leader positioned manually before each experimental trial. The advantage of this procedure is the use of realistic stimuli; the disadvantage is that manually shifting stimuli between trials is very time consuming making it difficult to use psychophysical methods based on the presentation of hundreds of stimuli. The present study tested a new automated system for stimulus presentation, the Echobot, that overcomes this disadvantage. We tested 15 sighted participants with no prior experience of echolocation on their ability to detect the reflection of a loudspeaker-generated click from a 50 cm circular aluminum disk. The results showed that most participants were able to detect the sound reflections. Performance varied considerably, however, with mean individual thresholds of detection ranging from 1 to 3.2 m distance from the disk. Three participants in the loudspeaker experiment also tested using self-generated vocalization. One participant performed better using vocalization and one much worse than in the loudspeaker experiment, illustrating that performance in echolocation experiments using vocalizations not only measures the ability to detect sound reflections, but also the ability to produce efficient echolocation signals. Overall, the present experiments show that the Echobot may be a useful tool in research on human echolocation.

Klíčová slova:

Bioacoustics – Echoes – Hearing – Psychophysics – Reflection – Loudspeakers – Echolocation – Vocalization


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Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 10