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holding on a minute

There have been a couple of public comments (plus one private plaudit)
regarding my plea for caution regarding the use of demonstrations in
auditory science. So, I think a couple of points of clarification are
needed. For those without the time or inclination to wade through the
following rant, this summary of my position may help

In FAVOUR of demonstrations
in FAVOUR of (or at least neutral about) the internet
AGAINST references to demos in the literature, except as supplements to
formal experiments published after anonymous peer review

As I (thought I) made clear first time round, the general idea of Al
putting some demonstrations on a web page could provide a very useful
contribution, in the  sense that they could lead to  " more precise
examination through experimental research", rather than becoming something
which people refer to as if it were a scientific finding. (Other valid uses
for demos are to illustrate data that are already published, and to give
the listener a feel for what was going on in an experiment). In this regard
John Neuhoff and I seem to be in complete agreement, the only bones of
contention being with what was actually being proposed and what should be
done next. However,  when correspondents start talking about the auditory
community's  "willingness to cooperate and to accept this base as being
"reliable" (no
doubt) enough to (formally) being referred to", and that "it may be
possible to persuade the editor of Perception to allow auditory perception
researchers to publish papers whose main contents are auditory
I get worried. This is not of course because I believe that the
demonstrations will be fraudulent, or, even as demonstrations go
"careless", but that without formal experimentation on a sizeable group of
subjects and subjected to ANONYMOUS peer review they run the risk of
introducing "semi facts" into the literature. After all, there are enough
confusing real facts already without the waters getting muddied by things
that may not stand up to experimental rigour. The problem is not with the
medium or the technology but with the need for experimentation and
anonymous review.  The role of the music/production scene is to get people
to listen to music. The role of auditory science is to figure out how the
auditory system works. In the first case one's subjective impressions can't
be wrong; in the last one they can and often are.


bob carlyon

PS rather than extended discussion, perhaps someone would care to set up a
web site where we can all vote on whether the above point of view is valid?
PPS just kidding

Dr. Bob Carlyon
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
15 Chaucer Rd.
Cambridge CB2 2EF
Phone: (44) 1223 355294 ext 720
Fax:   (44) 1223 359062