Auditory adaptation in real and virtual rooms
Walking from room to room in real listening conditions is a natural process in our everyday life and there is no obvious challenge for our auditory system to cope with. However, in experiments with virtual acoustic environments switching the virtual room or switching from real to virtual rooms can result in auditory confusions which can lead to in-head localization. This effect is known as the room divergence effect. A series of listening tests were conducted to verify this effect under different conditions as well as experiments which studied the effect of prior sound exposure and the time variant behaviour of it. In this paper two of these experiments are described and discussed. The first experiment shows that the extent of the room divergence effect depends on the room acoustics we have just learned. That indicates, that the room divergence effect is diminished during ongoing exposure to a specific room acoustic condition. The second listening test shows further evidence of this time-variant effect and we show that it can be suppressed by interrupting with the adaptation process. These tests raise the question why switching virtual rooms leads to temporary confusions but doing so with real rooms is unproblematic. Different theories are discussed in this publication.
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