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Sound Localization *

Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


How accurately can people identify the location of a sound source when blindfolded? Imagine the hemisphere of space that extends above your shoulders at arm's length. Divide that hemisphere up into regular sectors and test the ability of blindfolded test subjects to point to a remembered sound source. For example, you could use the beep from a timer held at each test location, and then have the test subject point to where they think the timer was located. Record the magnitude and direction of the error for each test location. Graph the error results for each test subject, and graph the average error for all test subjects. Where are people best at localizing sounds? Where are they worst? Something to think about for locations behind you: how much of the error is due to difficulty in pointing? (Dettmer, 2005)

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Science Buddies Staff. "Sound Localization" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 6 Oct. 2014. Web. 31 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/HumBio_p004.shtml>

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Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 6). Sound Localization. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/HumBio_p004.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-10-06


Dettmer, D.E. (2005). Sound Location. California State Science Fair Abstract. Retrieved August 23, 2006, from http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2005/Projects/J0310.pdf.

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