Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience

Human Echolocation of Contour Shape

Echolocation is the ability to infer spatial information from sound echoes. Humans can echolocate for example by making mouth clicks. There are various examples in the literature showing that humans can use echo-acoustic cues to avoid obstacles, determine object distance or location. In previous work it has also been shown that people can even echolocate shape of objects. Importantly, in the case of 2D contour shape (i.e. triangle, square, vertical rectangle, horizontal rectangle) we have also shown that perception of shape is only possible if people move their head (Milne et al, 2015, APP). In my talk I will describe recent work from our lab that has investigated the possible acoustic features enabling human echolocation of 2D contour-shape. I will also describe predictions about behaviour arising from these acoustic analyses. I will also describe recent work in which we investigated how expectations about object shape affect performance in a contour shape discrimination task.