Color, Timbre, and Echoes: How Source-Filter Processes Determine Why We See What We See and Hear What We Hear

  • Stephen Handel


Handel believes that color and timbre are properties of things, so the perceptual problem is to figure out the color of an object independent of illumination and the timbre of the source independent of the pitch. But because the energy at different wavelengths or frequencies of the source excitation is altered by the reflection or transmission of the filter in various ways, it is impossible to do so without context and previous experience. The performance at color-matching tasks and the discrimination of instruments at different pitches shows how difficult this is, but increasing the richness of the context improves performance for both color and timbre. Echolocation, based on the comparison of the self-produced whistles or clicks and their reflection, shares the same difficulties.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Handel
    • 1
  1. 1.PsychologyUniversity of Tennessee, KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA

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