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Re: 'Persistance of hearing'

Dear Craig, Bill, Walt, et al.:

>From what I've read (although I can't give you specific references) the
persistence of interpretations is a universal property of the human mind.
It occurs in every aspect of perception, and in problem-solving and even in
social psychology.  It has been referred to as "set".  In my view it
results from a conservative, but very useful, tendency of schemas, once
evoked, to preserve themselves in a noisy world, despite fluctuations in

One might ask what the hearing of a timbre or a click has to do with
schemas.  My answer, not being a Gibsonian, is that every human experience
is based on the brain's construction of a representation to "account for"
the incoming data and that these representations can be of a very low order
("edge", "timbre", "pitch", "movement" "separate source") or of a high
order ("friendly", "evil", "restaurant").  I think that the quality of
persistence applies at all levels in this hierarchy.  Without it, since
each interpretation supports interpretations above and below it in the
hierarchy, all experience would be very shaky.

Try looking up the following on Google:
     "the phenomenon of set" (psychology OR perception)



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

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

----- Original Message -----
From: "Craig Nicol" <craig.nicol@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2005 6:00 AM
Subject: 'Persistance of hearing'

> I've been looking at Timbre Spaces for a while, in particular the
> spaces by Grey in the 1970s. In one of his papers he mentions an
> experiment where two sounds are chosen (let's call them A and B), and
> a set of sounds is generated morphing from A to B. What he discovered
> is that there is a hysteresis effect when listening to the morphing,
> i.e. If the sounds are played from A to B, the listener will report
> hearing A for over half the samples whereas if the sounds are played
> from B to A, the listener will report hearing B for more samples.
> I am vaguely aware of similar optical illusions such as persistence of
> vision and I was wondering if anyone could direct me to more
> information on this effect in hearing as I want to know if this effect
> is particular to the timbre space or is a product of human perception.
> Regards,
> Craig Nicol.