Vision/Hearing Symmetries (Bradley Wood Libbey )

Subject: Vision/Hearing Symmetries
From:    Bradley Wood Libbey  <gt1556a(at)PRISM.GATECH.EDU>
Date:    Wed, 12 Jul 2000 19:16:25 -0400

Michael Kubovy and List, Although I can not assist you in finding a reference, if you are thinking about sensing reflected light/sound I hope the following will be of benefit. The visual system has a large number of sensors, rods and cones, even with one eye closed. Combined with the lens, a highly developed diffractor, many reflections can be determined with a high spatial resolution. (Reflections and sources are similar, for example your computer screen is a source while sonar utilizes reflections.) The auditory system on the other hand has only two spatial sensors with a less than perfect diffractor, the outer ear, head, and shoulders. Therefore its spatial resolution is quite poor for more than a couple of simultaneous reflections. (Consider the thousands of image sources in a room.) Instead the auditory system uses its exceptional temporal abilities to compensate for its inefficiencies spatially. Time delays between ears and frequency content account for much of our localization abilities. In the other system, light is entirely too fast for any temporal information between eyes. Continuing further the eyes have poor frequency resolution with only three or four frequency sensors; the ear has the basilar membrane, I dare not say more. Hope you found this interesting. Brad Libbey Georgia Institute of Technology gt1556a(at)

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