The Interferometer Paradigm for Mammalian Binaural Hearing

  • N. Cohen
Conference paper
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 144)


Binaural (stereo) hearing in man and other mammals may be modelled by an interferometric array paradigm. The well known use of amplitude differences at the two ears is but one of several relevant observables, which also include phase delay and group delay differences, as well as their respective rates. This two element interferometer appears to be nonlinear and spectral. Beam synthesis occurs with the decoding of harmonic information and the generation of pseudo-UV coverage through cochlear overtone production. Diffraction limiting may be overcome through such overtone generation. The precision or ‘localization’ of the synthesized beam may be achieved through rapid (of order microseconds) beam nodding, with acuity limited by the delay resolution of the interferometric processing--this has been measured to be less than 10 microseconds in man. Interferometric rejection is used to distinguish particular sounds in a noisy environment (the ‘cocktail party effect’).


Noisy Environment Amplitude Difference Phase Coherence Respective Rate Delay Resolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Cohen, N., and Cummins, D., 1987, Cetus, 7(1), 32.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Metropolitan CollegeBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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