How we process and perceive sound source locations in complex environments
* Presenting author
Until recently, it had canonically been assumed that the brain’s representation of the location of sound sources is hard-wired and thus encodes for absolute positions in space. However, recent experimental findings strongly contradict this assumption and instead suggest a relative representation of auditory space. Specifically, psychophysical data revealed that the perceived location of a stationary sound source can shift substantially depending on the prior acoustic experience. Neurophysiological findings demonstrated that these perceptional shifts could be explained by response adaptation of binaural neurons. I will review how this context-dependency of spatial processing transformed our ideas about the brain’s coding of auditory space. Furthermore, I will highlight how plasticity of spatial coding carries large potential for improving spatial hearing with cochlear implants.