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Echolocation
Date:8/29/2013

ions," says Lutz Wiegrebe. "Instead, the auditory system actively suppresses the perception of echoes, allowing us to focus on the primary acoustic signal, independently of how the space alters the signals on its way to the ears." This makes it easier to distinguish between different sound sources, allowing us to concentrate on what someone is saying to us, for example. The new study shows, however, that it is possible to functionally invert this suppression of echoes, and learn to use the information they contain for echolocation instead.

In the absence of visual information, we and most other mammals find navigation difficult. So it is not surprising that evolution has endowed many mammalian species with the ability to "read" reflected sound waves. Bats and toothed whales, which orient themselves in space primarily by means of acoustic signals, are the best known.

Wiegrebe and his colleagues are now exploring how the coordination of self-motion and echolocation facilitates sonar-guided orientation and navigation in humans.


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Contact: Luise Dirscherl
dirscherl@lmu.de
49-892-180-2706
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

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