Auditory Self-Motion Simulation is Facilitated by Haptic and Vibrational Cues Suggesting the Possibility of Actual Motion

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Bernhard E. Riecke, Daniel Feuereissen, and John J. Rieser. 2009. Auditory self-motion simulation is facilitated by haptic and vibrational cues suggesting the possibility of actual motion. ACM Trans. Appl. Percept. 6, 3, Article 20 (September 2009), 22 pages.

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Artificial, augmented, and virtual realities
Human factors
Human information processing
Input devices and strategies
Self-motion simulation
Spatial sound

Sound fields rotating around stationary blindfolded listeners sometimes elicit auditory circular vection, the illusion that the listener is physically rotating. Experiment 1 investigated whether auditory circular vection depends on participants' situational awareness of "movability", i.e., whether they sense/know that actual motion is possible or not. While previous studies often seated participants on movable chairs to suspend the disbelief of self-motion, it has never been investigated whether this does, in fact, facilitate auditory vection. To this end, 23 blindfolded participants were seated on a hammock chair with their feet either on solid ground ("movement impossible") or suspended ("movement possible") while listening to individualized binaural recordings of two sound sources rotating synchronously at 60 degrees. Although participants never physically moved, situational awareness of movability facilitated auditory vection. Moreover, adding slight vibrations like the ones resulting from actual chair rotation increased the frequency and intensity of vection. Experiment 2 extended these findings and showed that nonindividualized binaural recordings were as effective in inducing auditory circular vection as individualized recordings. These results have important implications both for our theoretical understanding of self-motion perception and for the applied field of self-motion simulations, where vibrations, non-individualized binaural sound, and the cognitive/perceptual framework of movability can typically be provided at minimal cost and effort.

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