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Re: mechanical cochlear model

Richard F. Lyon wrote:

..... The cochlear traveling wave may have some open issues, but to say that "its function in hearing is not yet universally appreciated" is misleading, and I think a bit disingenuous.

Dear Sir, please watch out what you write. The quoted sentence is not misleading, let alone "disingenuous". I was present at the last of the triennial conferences on Cochlear Mechanics in summer 2008 at Keele University/UK. You were not. You seem to have lost touch with the field. Until you have recovered some lost ground restraint would be in order. And stop your slander, please.

David Mountain wrote:

The cochlear traveling wave is still alive and well.

Yes, it is. What is not "well", and in fact fatally ill, is Georg von Bekesy's view that this traveling wave allocates frequency to place along the cochlear duct. The evidence against this view would now fill books. Already in 1961, when Bekesy was awarded the Nobel prize, the literature was already full of evidence against his view. However, Bekesy and his followers succeeded in neglecting all unwelcome evidence. Later researcher, then, who started their careers in the 1970s silenced the unwelcome counterevidence by simply not referencing it any more.

Just one example. In the 1950s it was well established and widely discussed that temporary threshold shift (TTS) due to high-level sound exposure does not occur at the place of the characteristic frequency (CF) of the stimulus (say, 2 kHz) but about half an octave towards the base of the cochlea (i.e., at the CF place of 3 kHz). These often repeated observations were, and still are, evidence for the view that the basilar membrane traveling wave peaks about half an octave basalwards of the neural CF. Yet, Bekesy and his followers succeeded in treating this evidence as if it did not exist.

Again, this is only one of the many failures of the field during the 1950s and 1960s. Anybody is invited to find some of the others.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
email: nombraun@xxxxxxxxx
web site: http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/index.htm