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Sound Localization

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability
Readily available
Very Low (under $20)
No issues
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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)


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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On each side of your head is the auditory system, one of the most beautifully designed organs in the human body. The auditory system not only detects sound, but is closely tied to the vestibular system, which helps a person with balance, and knowing how his or her body is moving through space. Audiologists detect, diagnose, and develop treatment plans for people of all ages who have problems with hearing, balance, or spatial positioning. This important work impacts how well a person is able to… Read more

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Sound Localization." Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/HumBio_p004/human-biology-health/sound-localization. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). Sound Localization. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/HumBio_p004/human-biology-health/sound-localization

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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