Dr Andrew Kolarik

Senior Research Fellow, Vision and Eye Research Unit (VERU), Postgraduate Medical Institute (PMI).

Faculty:Faculty of Medical Science

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Vision and eye research

Andrew’s work investigates how visual and hearing loss affects auditory abilities, and how sound can be used to increase spatial awareness and guide human movement for those with sensory impairments.

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Email: andrew.kolarik@anglia.ac.uk

Background

Andrew is interested in how sensory impairment affects spatial awareness, and to what extent supra-normal performance for auditory spatial tasks among blind listeners, such as distance discrimination and azimuthal localisation, can be explained by cross-modal cortical reorganisation. A major focus of his work is auditory distance perception, which guides behavior allowing us to locate important objects or avoid threats in the environment when vision is unavailable.

His work uses virtualization techniques, human movement measurement and self-report methods. These methods allow investigation of whether accurate internal representations of auditory space are formed in the absence of a visual signal, under what conditions blind individuals demonstrate supra-normal hearing abilities, and how this translates to behavioral benefits. Andrew is interested in how human echolocation and electronic sensory substitution can be used to obtain information about a person's surroundings, and guide locomotion. His work also investigates how hearing aid processing can be improved to increase audibility, especially in difficult listening environments that are noisy or highly reverberant.

Research interests

  • The effects of visual and hearing loss on auditory abilities.
  • The use of echolocation to guide human movement in the absence of vision.
  • Auditory distance perception.
  • How electronic sensory substitution can provide spatial information to those who have lost their sight.
  • Hearing aid processing.

Qualifications

  • PhD Auditory Psychology, Cardiff University.
  • BA Psychology, Cardiff University.

Memberships, editorial boards

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Selected recent publications

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Kolarik, A. J., Cirstea, S., Pardhan, S., and Moore, B. C. J. (2014). A summary of research investigating echolocation abilities of blind and sighted humans. Hearing Research, 310, pp60-68.

Kolarik, A. J., Timmis, M. A., Cirstea, S., and Pardhan, S. (2014). Sensory substitution information informs locomotor adjustments when walking through apertures. Experimental Brain Research, 232, pp975–984.

Kolarik, A. J., Cirstea, S., and Pardhan, S. (2013) “Evidence for enhanced auditory distance discrimination among blind listeners using level and direct-to-reverberant cues,” Experimental Brain Research, 224, pp623-633.

Kolarik, A. J., Cirstea, S., and Pardhan, S. (2013). “Discrimination of virtual auditory distance using level and direct-to-reverberant ratio cues,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134, pp3395-3398.

Kolarik, A. J., Cirstea, S., Pardhan, S., and Moore, B. C. J. (2013). “Using acoustic information to perceive room size: effects of blindness, room reverberation time, and stimulus,” Perception, 42, pp985-990.

Kolarik, A. J., Cirstea, S., Pardhan, S., and Moore, B. C. J.  (2013). An assessment of virtual auditory distance judgments among blind and sighted listeners. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Montréal, 19, pp050043.

Kolarik, A. J., and Culling, J. F. (2010). “Measurement of the binaural auditory filter using a detection task,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 127, pp3009–3017.

Kolarik, A. J., Margrain, T. H., and Freeman, T. C. A. (2010). “Precision and accuracy of ocular following: influence of age and type of eye movement,” Experimental Brain Research, 201, pp271-282.

Kolarik, A. J., and Culling, J. F. (2009). “Measurement of the binaural temporal window using a lateralisation task,” Hearing Research, 248, pp60-68.

Kolarik, A. J., and Culling, J. F. (2009). “The masking of interaural delays,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125, pp2162-2171.