The Precedence Effect

Its Implications for Developmental Questions
  • Rachel Keen Clifton
Part of the Advances in the Study of Communication and Affect book series (ASCA, volume 10)


The study of illusions forcibly reminds us that our experience of the world is, to a great extent, created within our own heads. Understanding illusions can help explicate the way the brain handles sensory information, which is an interesting idea traced through its long history by Coren and Girgus (1978). Developmental changes in the way illusions are perceived may, in turn, bring a better understanding of both the developing nervous system and the functioning of a mature nervous system.


Auditory Cortex Delay Interval Sound Localization Precedence Effect Interaural Time Difference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aslin, R. N. & Pisoni, D. B. Some developmental processes in speech perception. In G. YeniKomshian, J. F. Kavanagh, & C. A. Ferguson (Eds.), Child phonology: Perception and production. New York: Academic Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  2. Clarkson, M. G. & Berg, W. K. Cardiac deceleration and vowel discrimination in newborns: Crucial parameters of acoustic stimuli. Child Development, 1983, 54, 162–171.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clarkson, M., Morrongiello, B., & Clifton, R. Stimulus-presentation probability influences newborn head orientation to sound. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1982, 55, 1239–1246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clifton, R., Morrongiello, B., & Dowd, J. A developmental look at an auditory illusion: The precedence effect. Developmental Psychobiology, 1984, 17, 519–536.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clifton, R., Morrongiello, B., Kulig, J., & Dowd, J. Newborns’ orientation toward sound: Possible implications for cortical development. Child Development, 1981, 52, 833–838.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coren, S. & Girgus, J. Seeing is deceiving: The psychology of visual illusions. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1978.Google Scholar
  7. Cranford, J., Ravizza, R., Diamond, I., & Whitfield, I. Unilateral ablations of the auditory cortex in the cat impairs complex sound localization. Science, 1971, 172, 286–288.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cranford, J. & Oberholtzer, M. Role of neocortex in binaural hearing in the cat. II. The “precedence effect” in sound localization. Brain Research, 1976, 111, 225–239.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davis, S. & McCrosky, R. Auditory fusion in children. Child Development, 1980, 51, 75–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dekaban, A. Neurology of early childhood. Baltimore: William & Wilkins, 1970.Google Scholar
  11. Emde, R., Gaensbauer, T., & Harmon, R. Emotional expression in infancy: A biobehavioral study. Psychological Issues,1976, 10,No. 37.Google Scholar
  12. Erulkar, S. Comparative aspects of spatial localization of sound. Physiological Review, 1972, 52, 237–337.Google Scholar
  13. Field, J., Muir, D., Pilon, R., Sinclair, M., & Dodwell, P. Infants’ orientation to lateral sounds from birth to three months. Child Development, 1980, 51, 295–298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Green, D. An introduction to hearing. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1976.Google Scholar
  15. Haas, H. The influence of a single echo on the audibility of speech. Reprinted in E. Schubert (Ed.), Benchmark papers in acoustics, Vol. 13: Psychological acoustics. Stroudsburg, Pa.: Dowden, Hutchinson, & Ross, 1979.Google Scholar
  16. Heffner, H. The effect of auditory cortex ablation on sound localization in the monkey (Macaca mulatta): Unpublished dissertation, Florida State University, 1973.Google Scholar
  17. Hochster, M. & Kelly, J. The precedence effect and sound localization by children with temporal lobe epilepsy. Neuropsychologia, 1981, 19, 49–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jusczyk, P., Pisoni, D., Walley, A. & Murray, J. Discrimination of relative onset time of twocomponent tones by infants. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 1980, 67, 262–270.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kelly, J. Localization of paired sound sources in the rat: Small time differences. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 1974, 55, 1277–1284.Google Scholar
  20. Klump, R. & Eady, H. Some measurements of interaural time difference thresholds. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 1956, 28, 859–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mills, A. Auditory localization. In J. V. Tobias (Ed.), Foundations of modern auditory theory (Vol. 2 ). New York: Academic Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  22. Morrongiello, B., Clifton, R., & Kulig, J. Newborn cardiac and behavioral orienting responses to sound under varying precedence effect conditions. Infant Behavior and Development, 1982, 5, 249–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Morrongiello, B., Kulig, J., & Clifton, R. Developmental changes in auditory temporal perception. Child Development, 1984, 55, 461–471.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Muir, D. & Clifton, R. K. Infants’ orientation to the location of sound sources. In G. Gottlieb & N. A. Krasnegor (Eds.), Measurement of audition and vision in the first postnatal year of life: A methodological overview. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, in press.Google Scholar
  25. Muir, D. & Field, J. Newborn infants orient to sounds. Child Development, 1979, 50, 431–436.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Muir, D., Abraham, W., Forbes, B., & Harris, L. The ontogenesis of an auditory localization response from birth to four months of age. Canadian Journal of Psychology, 1979, 33, 320–333.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pollack, R. Some implications of ontogenetic changes in perception. In J. Flavell & D. Elkind (Eds.), Studies in cognitive development: Essays in honor of Jean Piaget. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  28. Pollack, R. Mueller-Lyer illusion: Effect of age, lightness contrast, and hue. Science, 1970, 170, 93–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schneider, B., Trehub, S., & Bull, D. High-frequency sensitivity in infants. Science, 1980, 207, 1003–1004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Strange, W. & Broen, P. The relationship between perception and production of /W/, /r/, and /1/ by three-year-old children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1981, 31, 81–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tallai, P., & Stark, R. Speech acoustic-cue discrimination of normally developing and language- impaired children. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 1981, 69, 568–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Trehub, S., Schneider, B., & Endman, M. Developmental changes in infants’ sensitivity to octave-band noises. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1980, 29, 282–293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wallach, H., Newman, E., & Rosenzweig, M. The precedence effect in sound localization. American Journal of Psychology, 1949, 62, 315–336.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Whitfield, I., Auditory cortical lesions and the precedence effect in a four-choice situation. Journal of Physiology, 1978, 289, 81.Google Scholar
  35. Whitfield, I., Cranford, J., Ravizza, R., & Diamond, I. Effects of unilateral ablation of auditory cortex in cat on complex sound localization. Journal of Neurophysiology, 1972, 35, 718–731.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Whitfield, I., Diamond, I., Chiveralls, K., & Williamson, T. Some further observations on the effects of unilateral cortical ablation on sound localization in the cat. Experimental Brain Research, 1978, 31, 221–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wilson, W. Behavioral assessment of auditory function in infants. In F. D. Minifie & L. L. Lloyd (Eds.), Communicative and cognitive abilities—Early behavioral assessment. Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  38. Yakovlev, P. & Lecours, A. The myelogenetic cycles of regional maturation of the brain. In A. Minkowski (Ed.), Regional development of the brain in early life, Philadelphia: F. A. Davis, 1967.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Keen Clifton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations