Rice et al. [Hear. Res. 58, 132-152 (1992)] classified directional properties of the cat's head-related transfer function (HRTF) into three frequency domains. Low frequencies (<5 kHz) display a broad azimuth-sensitive spectral peak that establishes interaural level differences, mid frequencies (5-18 kHz) are marked with a single deep spectral notch that changes in frequency as a function of both azimuth and elevation, and high frequencies (18-50 kHz) exhibit a complex pattern of peaks and notches that shows extensive but less systematic changes with sound location. Spectral cues conveyed by the mid frequencies of broadband sounds are important in tasks that require cats to identify the actual location of acoustic stimuli [Huang and May, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. (in press)]. The present study investigates how directional cues conveyed by the mid- and high-frequency spectrum of the HRTF influence the cat's ability to discriminate between sound locations. Thresholds for spatial acuity were measured as minimum audible angles (MAAs) [Mills, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 30, 237-246 (1958)] at positive azimuths in the interaural horizontal plane and at positive and negative elevations in the median vertical plane. The frequency domain of the noise burst had little effect on MAAs in the horizontal plane, but removal of high-frequency spectral information significantly increased thresholds at positive and negative elevations in the median plane. These results suggest that cats are sensitive to directional properties of the HRTF at frequencies above 18 kHz and may use this information to detect small changes in sound source elevation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics