Recent investigations (Cranford, Boose, & Moore, 1990a,b; Moore, Cranford, & Rahn, 1990) studied the ability of normal adult subjects to localize sounds under conditions that elicit the Precedence Effect. In different tests, subjects were required either to report the perceived location of a stationary fused auditory image (FAI) or track the apparent motion of a "moving" FAI. Movement of the FAI was simulated by incrementally varying the delay between pairs of clicks presented, one each, from two matched loudspeakers placed on opposite sides of the listener. In the present study, groups of normally developing children, ranging in age from 6 to 12 years of age, were tested with these two procedures. Although subjects performed at normal adult levels with the stationary FAI test, a significant age-related trend was observed with the moving FAI test. The younger children exhibited poorer tracking performances than did the older children. These results provide evidence that significant changes in binaural temporal processing abilities may occur in the early childhood years.
KEY WORDS: sound localization, binaural hearing, Precedence Effect, children, auditory development
Submitted on April 9, 1992
Accepted on October 12, 1992