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how audition beats vision

One major difference between the auditory and visual channels is
sensitivity to rapid events in time.  Audition beats vision by a long
shot -- a factor of 30-40 -- presumably because the chemical response
to light takes much longer than the mechanical response to sound
pressure.  The auditory nerve apparently transmits a phase-locked
representation of sound events all the way up to nearly 1000 Hz. (Of
course the ear detects frequencies much higher than that, but I'm
talking about time-synchronous response to individual events.)  This
means that individual periods are resolved almost down to a single
msec.  The visual system, on the other hand, fails to detect flicker
in movie images that flash only 24-30 times a second.

Now whether this can be exploited for the purpose of facilitating data
interpretation, I don't know.  It will take some imagination.

        Bob Port
        Linguistics/Comp Sci/Cog Sci
        Indiana University