ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

3pPP6. Divided auditory attention with up to three sound sources: A cocktail party.

William A. Yost

Stanley Sheft

Raymond (Toby) Dye

Parmly Hear. Inst., Loyola Univ. of Chicago, 6525 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60626

This study investigated listeners' performance in a divided attention task involving up to three simultaneously occurring messages presented in a sound field and monaurally over headphones. Either NU-6 words or spoken numbers and letters were delivered over seven loudspeakers placed equidistance along the azimuth plane, 1 m in front of the listener. Each listener performed two tasks: a message recognition task in which the listener indicated all of the messages that he/she heard, and a message location task in which they indicated the spatial location of each message. In the sound field study, the messages were presented over either one, two, or three loudspeakers simultaneously. In the monaural study, a single microphone was placed at the location of the listener in the sound field and its output was fed to the right headphone of the subject seated in a sound proof room at a remote location. Both message recognition and location measures were compared for one versus two versus three simultaneous message presentations, and for sound field versus monaural presentations. The results will be discussed in terms of binaural processing and the cocktail party problem. [Work supported by AFOSR.]