Instant improvement in monaural spatial hearing abilities through cognitive feedback

Tine Arras, Hillary Snapp, Anouk Sangen, Chantal Snels, Iris Kuntz, Tinne Theunen, Kiana Kheirkhah, Andrzej Zarowski, Thomas Wesarg, Astrid van Wieringen, Martijn J.H. Agterberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies report that sound localization performance of acute and chronic monauralized normal-hearing listeners can improve through training. Typically, training sessions are administered daily for several days or weeks. While this intensive training is effective, it may also be that monaural localization abilities improve instantly after providing explicit top-down information about the direction dependent change in timbre and level. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether cognitive feedback (i.e., top-down information) could instantly improve sound localization in naive acutely monauralized listeners. Forty-three normal-hearing listeners (experimental group), divided over five different centers, were tested. Two control groups, consisting of, respectively, nine and eleven normal-hearing listeners, were tested in one center. Broadband sounds (0.5–20 kHz) were presented from visible loudspeakers, positioned in azimuth (− 90° to 90°). Participants in the experimental group received explicit information about the noticeable difference in timbre and the poor localization in the monauralized listening condition, resulting in an instant improvement in sound localization abilities. With subsequent roving of stimulus level (20 dB), sound localization performance deteriorated immediately. The reported improvement is related to the context of the localization test. The results provide important implications for studies investigating sound localization in a clinical setting, especially during closed-set testing, and indicate the importance of top-down information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1357-1369
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Directional hearing
  • Monaural
  • Sound level
  • Timbre
  • Top-down information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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