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Re: An Auditory Illusion

Dear Al,

It woul be really better to ask people of the von der Malsburg group
how they deal with this problem, but as far as I know their theory it
works well even for a male voice at the left ear and a female voice
at the right ear saying the same word ("happy"). The first ideas
about synchronisation were associated with oscillations (e.g. 40 Hz
in cats visual cortex), but this is no longer up to date. If people
still model synchrony with oscillations, they use at least chaotic
oscillators which show a multitude of limit cycles depending on their
stimulation. Many models don't use osscilations at all. If you think
about non-periodic synchrony, you can imagine many different ways how
to implement perfect synchrony, partial synchrony, no synchrony,
antisynchrony, and even net-like correlations that could very well
code the above situations. Node MALE could well be in synchrony with
node LEFT and with node HAPPY, and node FEMALE with node RIGHT and
node HAPPY, without nodes MALE/LEFT and nodes RIGHT/FEMALE being in
synchrony. Node HAPPY could, e.g. fire with a 60-Hz cycle, nodes
RIGHT/FEMALE firing with approx. 30-Hz bursts and taking every even
burst, and nodes MALE/LEFT taking every odd burst. And this
explanation was on the basis of periodic osscillations. Nonperiodic
synchrony could probably do even better. I am well aware that the
correlation theory is not apt to solve all binding problems today.
The upoint I wanted to make is that one can imagine several
mechanisms how node based systems could deal with complicated binding
problems. It is another job to prove that this is the way it is done.

As I said above, it would be better to ask the real experts in the
field. I will communicate our little discussion to Christoph von der
Malsburg (see cc:). If he sees need to correct me (there is probably
reason to :-) he might do so.

Dr. Christian Kaernbach
Institut fuer Allgemeine Psychologie
Universitaet Leipzig

Seeburgstr. 14-20          Tel.: +49 341 97-35968 (secr. 35960)
04 103 Leipzig             Fax:  +49 341 97-35969
Germany                    e-mail chris@psychologie.uni-leipzig.de