Monday, July 20, 2009

The impenetrable beauty of Time (III)

«FIGURE 6.2. A: 3 typical types of rate-intensity functions for the auditory nerve fibers in acoustic hearing. Note the narrowest dynamic range in the saturating-type fiber and the widest dynamic range in the straight-type fiber. B: compressive input-output function of the basilar membrane (BM). C: Transformed "rate-intensity" functions in which the x-axis is the basilar membrane displacement. Note the uni-formly narrow dynamic range in all 3 nerve fibers, suggesting that the acoustically observed different types of rate-intensity functions are mainly due to cochlear compression.»

Compression is at the heart of hearing. It broadly refers to the com­pres­sion of the vast dynamic range in loudness of the sounds we are able to listen to into a much more narrow dyn­amic range of neural activity that en­codes these sounds. In geeneral, any compressive function more or less linearly trans­lates a wide range of values on any kind of input into a smaller range of these values in the output.

My percep­tion of time is just behav­ing the same: A long stretch of phys­ical time can feel very brief, when my temporal input­/­out­put function is compressive—mostly when I feel extremely good—, or it can become expansive when short stretches of phys­ical time are mapped onto a larger range of perceived time; known to most of us only as boredom. Compres­sive functions are beautiful creatures.

Dieser Beitrag ist auf Englisch, doch einiges an der Zeitmauer gibt es auch in der hervorragenden Kultur- und Verwaltungssprache Deutsch zu lesen.

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