Sound localization cues in the marmoset monkey

Sean J. Slee, Eric D. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The most important acoustic cues available to the brain for sound localization are produced by the interaction of sound with the animal's head and external ears. As a first step in understanding the relation between these cues and their neural representation in a vocal new-world primate, we measured head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) across frequency for a wide range of sound locations in three anesthetized marmoset monkeys. The HRTF magnitude spectrum has a broad resonance peak at 6-12 kHz that coincides with the frequency range of the major call types of this species. A prominent first spectral notch (FN) in the HRTF magnitude above this resonance was observed at most source locations. The center frequency of the FN increased monotonically from ∼12 to 26 kHz with increases in elevation in the lateral field. In the frontal field FN frequency changed in a less orderly fashion with source position. From the HRTFs we derived interaural time (ITDs) and level differences (ILDs). ITDs and ILDs (below 12 kHz) varied as a function of azimuth between ±250 μs and ±20 dB, respectively. A reflexive orienting behavioral paradigm was used to confirm that marmosets can orient to sound sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-108
Number of pages13
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • (3-6) ITD
  • HRTF
  • ILD
  • Marmoset behavior
  • Sound localization
  • Spectral notch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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