Synopsis.—This paper offers an explanation of the sound images observed when pure tones of the same frequency and intensity but of different phase are applied to the two ears. Use is made of theoretical curves calculated by Stewart and Fry giving the relation between the position of an actual source and the resulting phase difference of the sound at the two ears. On the assumption that the listener subconsciously perceives the phase difference and places the image in the position that experience has taught him to associate with that phase difference, most phenomena follow directly from the curves.
For frequencies below about 600 cycles they account for (1) the observed rotation of the image with continuously varying ; (2) its motion toward the ear followed by a range of uncertainty as approaches 180°; (3) the increase with frequency of the value of for maximum lateral displacement of the image. For higher frequencies they explain the progressive decrease in definiteness of the image with increase in frequency as due to the presence of a number of simultaneous images. These multiple images as given by the curves are in very good agreement with those observed in the rather unique experiments of Bowlker.
The completeness with which the assumed theory of direct perception of phase difference explains the observed phenomena is strong evidence in its favor against the rival theories based on cross conduction through the head.
© 1919 The American Physical Society