Natural statistics of binaural sounds
Wiktor Młynarski and Jürgen Jost
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Submission date: 19. Feb. 2014
published in: PLoS one, 9 (2014) 10, art-no. e108968
DOI number (of the published article): 10.1371/journal.pone.0108968
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Binaural sound localization is usually considered a discrimination task, where interaural time (ITD) and level (ILD) disparities at pure frequency channels are utilized to identify a position of a sound source. In natural conditions binaural circuits are exposed to a stimulation by sound waves originating from multiple, often moving and overlapping sources. Therefore statistics of binaural cues depend on acoustic properties and the spatial configuration of the environment. In order to process binaural sounds efficiently, the auditory system should be adapted to naturally encountered cue distributions. Statistics of cues encountered naturally and their dependence on the physical properties of an auditory scene have not been studied before. We performed binaural recordings of three auditory scenes with varying spatial properties. We have analyzed empirical cue distributions from each scene by fitting them with parametric probability density functions which allowed for an easy comparison of different scenes. Higher order statistics of binaural waveforms were analyzed by performing Independent Component Analysis (ICA) and studying properties of learned basis functions. Obtained results can be related to known neuronal mechanisms and suggest how binaural hearing can be understood in terms of adaptation to the natural signal statistics.