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Re: vision:audition::surfaces:sources

Dear Professor Kubovy,

Ryunen Teranishi, my former boss, compared audition
and vision systematically, and wrote a few chapters of
textbooks around 1980.  The chapters are in Japanese
unfortunately, but he pointed some differences between
these two modalities very clearly.  I summarize his
argument below.

1. The information source is usually the sound source
itself in audition, whereas the information in vision
is usually given by the reflection of light from the
surface of the information source.

2. The wavelengths of sounds are comparable to the
sizes of our body and surrounding objects, and this
makes it very difficult for us to have an auditory
organ which can receive clear information about
spatial patterns.

3. Things to reflect light exist in space for a
long time, and the visual system is often used to
perceive these "objects."

4. Perceived sounds are mostly related to temporal
changes, and the auditory system is devoted to "events"
in time.  Auditory information should be processed in
real time.

                             Yoshitaka Nakajima
                             Kyushu Institute of Design


Teranishi, R. (1984). Temporal aspects in hearing
perception.  In: Namba, S. (Ed.).  Handbook of
Hearing.  Kyoto: Nakanishiya Shuppan (in Japanese).