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Re: Laws of physics and old history...

Dear Ranjit (and of course the List)!

I always think the discussions about cochlea mechanics really refreshing, and there are always some points coming up that are really interesting to think about - and a lot to learn. I do not want to put myself in one of the 'camps', I just want to give you a pointer that might be in line with your argument that one should also look at psychoacoustical evidence when describing/investigating the cochlea. I totally agree on that! There is a huge chunk of data out there, and even though challenging to interpret in terms of cochlear contributions, there is a chance that it contributes, and that needs to be used.

In 2010 we used a transmission line model (i.e., a TW model) to see how far we can go capturing both, physiological aspects and psychoacoustical
data with such an approach. And we came surprisingly far! By using assumptions as simple (and from our point of view quite feasible) we were able to reproduce data on threshold fine structure and modulation detection thresholds accompanied with simulations on OAEs and I/O functions.

Epp B, Verhey JL, Mauermann, M (2010) Modeling cochlear dynamics: Interrelation between cochlea mechanics and psychoacoustics. J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 128, 1870-1883

(I am currently working on a follow-up...hope to complete that soon)

Under the assumption that this (near threshold-) psychoacoustical data is generally accepted, and you agree with our assumptions made in the paper, this is some support for TW-type of cochlear processing. But if similar results can be produced with a parallel-resonator type of model, that would in turn support the other idea! And I am sure once numerical results with the parallel resonator approach are available, that will put substance into the arguments!

It's just as with the psychoacoustics: The ideas AND the simulations, combined with data will be the key!