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Re: BM motion
No matter how the nonlinearity affects the tone amplitudes, the sum
of two sinusoids of different frequencies is easily distinguishable
from a larger single sinusoid, through the temporal pattern, which
will be appararent in the auditory nerve firing-time patterns, even
when both frequencies are higher than can be coded by synchrony.
As to the nonlinearity, it shows up clearly in the mechanics, when
the OHCs are functioning, and it's not hard to see how OHCs in one
region can change the response to other tones that travel through
that region to be localized further on; that is, how high-f can
suppress low-f if not too much lower. The other direction works
slightly differently, but the key is that different frequencies share
the same traveling wave medium that amplifies them, so you get
suppression. There may yet be mysteries in the micromechanical
details, but not in the overall functional effect.
Matt, is the "'frequency specificity' mystery" something that you
find in the literature? Or do you just mean you haven't found a
clear enough explanation?