Re: An Auditory Illusion (Christian Kaernbach )

Subject: Re: An Auditory Illusion
From:    Christian Kaernbach  <chris(at)PSYCHOLOGIE.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE>
Date:    Tue, 20 May 1997 09:21:31 +0200

Dear Al, It woul be really better to ask people of the von der Malsburg group how they deal with this problem, but as far as I know their theory it works well even for a male voice at the left ear and a female voice at the right ear saying the same word ("happy"). The first ideas about synchronisation were associated with oscillations (e.g. 40 Hz in cats visual cortex), but this is no longer up to date. If people still model synchrony with oscillations, they use at least chaotic oscillators which show a multitude of limit cycles depending on their stimulation. Many models don't use osscilations at all. If you think about non-periodic synchrony, you can imagine many different ways how to implement perfect synchrony, partial synchrony, no synchrony, antisynchrony, and even net-like correlations that could very well code the above situations. Node MALE could well be in synchrony with node LEFT and with node HAPPY, and node FEMALE with node RIGHT and node HAPPY, without nodes MALE/LEFT and nodes RIGHT/FEMALE being in synchrony. Node HAPPY could, e.g. fire with a 60-Hz cycle, nodes RIGHT/FEMALE firing with approx. 30-Hz bursts and taking every even burst, and nodes MALE/LEFT taking every odd burst. And this explanation was on the basis of periodic osscillations. Nonperiodic synchrony could probably do even better. I am well aware that the correlation theory is not apt to solve all binding problems today. The upoint I wanted to make is that one can imagine several mechanisms how node based systems could deal with complicated binding problems. It is another job to prove that this is the way it is done. As I said above, it would be better to ask the real experts in the field. I will communicate our little discussion to Christoph von der Malsburg (see cc:). If he sees need to correct me (there is probably reason to :-) he might do so. Best, Christian --- Dr. Christian Kaernbach Institut fuer Allgemeine Psychologie Universitaet Leipzig Seeburgstr. 14-20 Tel.: +49 341 97-35968 (secr. 35960) 04 103 Leipzig Fax: +49 341 97-35969 Germany e-mail chris(at)

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