Towards More Realistic Listening Research in Virtual Environments: The Effect of Spatial Position of Two Talkers in Conversations on Memory and Listening Effort (en)
* Presenting author
Conversations between three or more people often include phases in which one conversational partner is the listener while the others are conversing. In face-to-face conversations, it is quite unlikely to have two talkers’ audio signals come from the same spatial location – yet monaural-diotic sound presentation is often realized in cognitive-psychological experiments. However, the availability of spatial cues probably influences the cognitive processing of heard conversational content. In the present study we test this assumption by investigating spatial separation of conversing talkers in the listener’s short-term memory and listening effort. To this end, participants were administered a dual-task paradigm. In the primary task, participants listened to a conversation between two alternating talkers in a non-noisy setting and answered questions on the conversational content after listening. The talkers’ audio signals were presented at a distance of 2.5m from the listener either spatially separated (+/- 60°) or co-located (0°; within-subject). As a secondary task, participants worked in parallel to the listening task on a vibrotactile stimulation task, which is detached from auditory and visual modalities. The results are reported and discussed in particular regarding future listening experiments in virtual environments.