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Audio Demos

Dear Colleagues,

Recently Dan Levitin and I applied for a grant to fund a new project that we
had in mind.  The idea was to explore new auditory principles and phenomena
by creating audio demonstrations that embodied them.  Our model was the
importance of the Gestalt demonstrations in the development of principles of
perception in vision.

The demonstrations were not to be of established phenomena and principles
but of new ones, based on a file of research ideas and auditory phenomena
that I have accumulated over the past 30 years of laboratory work, and could
never hope to study via conventional lab research in my remaining research
career.  We planned that these demos should be available to the research
community (and others) as audio on a Web site.  Each demo would be
accompanied by text and diagrams that would put it in a theoretical context
and would explain the conclusions we wanted to draw from it, as in a
research paper, but with the demonstration playing the role that the
experiment normally plays in the conventional type of paper.

The basic idea is not to produce demonstrations for educational purposes --
although they could be used that way -- but to further the development of
theory in a way that is time-effective.  We believe that a new phenomenon
can be explored must faster by a few demonstrations than by doing a
full-scale experiment.  Demonstrations offer a way to explore many new
phenomena and principles rapidly, opening them up for more precise
examination through experimental research.

Some of the reviewers thought the idea was very interesting but were
troubled by the absence of peer review in this approach.  I would like to
tap the collective wisdom of the AUDITORY list members by asking all of you
for suggestions about how some sort of review process could be built into
this project.

The main problem, in my mind, concerns the function of Editor.  Who would
play editor?  Why would he or she want to do it?  In a normal review process
the editor selects the reviewers and mediates between them and the authors.
Who would want to be editor for just a single project?  Who would select
such an editor?  What about competition? In a normal editorial role, one
chooses the most meritorious of competing manuscripts, and rejects the
others, but in the proposed case, there is no competition, so the editor can
only suggest improvements and ultimately accept or reject what has been

I would be most grateful for any suggestions and thoughts that you might

-- Al

Albert S. Bregman, Emeritus Professor
Dept of Psychology, McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue
Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1

Tel:  +1 (514) 398-6103
Fax: +1 (514) 398-4896