Dynamic sound localization during rapid eye-head gaze shifts.
SourceThe Journal of Neuroscience, 24, 42, (2004), pp. 9291-9302
Article / Letter to editor
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Medical Physics and Biophysics
The Journal of Neuroscience
Human sound localization relies on implicit head-centered acoustic cues. However, to create a stable and accurate representation of sounds despite intervening head movements, the acoustic input should be continuously combined with feedback signals about changes in head orientation. Alternatively, the auditory target coordinates could be updated in advance by using either the preprogrammed gaze-motor command or the sensory target coordinates to which the intervening gaze shift is made ("predictive remapping"). So far, previous experiments cannot dissociate these alternatives. Here, we study whether the auditory system compensates for ongoing saccadic eye and head movements in two dimensions that occur during target presentation. In this case, the system has to deal with dynamic changes of the acoustic cues as well as with rapid changes in relative eye and head orientation that cannot be preprogrammed by the audiomotor system. We performed visual-auditory double-step experiments in two dimensions in which a brief sound burst was presented while subjects made a saccadic eye-head gaze shift toward a previously flashed visual target. Our results show that localization responses under these dynamic conditions remain accurate. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the intervening eye and head movements are fully accounted for. Moreover, elevation response components were more accurate for longer-duration sounds (50 msec) than for extremely brief sounds (3 msec), for all localization conditions. Taken together, these results cannot be explained by a predictive remapping scheme. Rather, we conclude that the human auditory system adequately processes dynamically varying acoustic cues that result from self-initiated rapid head movements to construct a stable representation of the target in world coordinates. This signal is subsequently used to program accurate eye and head localization responses.
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