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My personal solution to this problem is to misplace the headphones such
that only one of them is placed over the ear. The other ear is free, and
I get my dinner / hear the cat in the dust bin / ...
It is true that this monaural (not binaural but mono) presentation could
help for the same reason that Tim assumes to work in the binaural case:
placing the image of the transmitted data outside the head. I always
thought of it as being a mixture of a) less obstruction of the free ear,
b) optimal BMLD situation. It is intruiging to assume it has to do with
It would be nice to have precise data. All could be done with binaural
recordings: adding a binaural target to a) true binaural distractor or
b) normal "inside the head" stereo recordings. There should be two
different tasks: A "perceptual" task, with the subject knowing exactly
something is to come and the only task being to detect it correctly, and
an "attentional" task with the subject having to spend some effort on
the distractor stimulus (counting words would be enough?) and on the
other hand react to some key word ("dinner") in the (ongoing but
normally irrelevant) target stimulus. I would assume that the effect is
mainly an attentional one, but I am not sure.
- Christian Kaernbach
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