Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tom Yin: Cue the Award

I've mentioned Tom Yin a few times here. Here's a new item that adds a bit more to this collection:

"The William and Christine Hartmann Prize in Auditory Neuroscience was established in 2011 through a generous donation by Bill and Chris Hartmann to the Acoustical Society of America to recognize and honor research that links auditory physiology with auditory perception or behavior in humans or other animals. The first Prize was awarded at the Spring meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Montreal (2-7 June 2013) to Tom C. T. Yin." From: http://acousticalsociety.org/funding_resources/prizes

See too: http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/dr-tom-yin-awarded-inaugural-hartmann-prize-in-auditory-neuroscience/41492

Yin winning this newly created award sounds like something other than a coincidence.

William Hartmann is a physicist at Michigan State University who leads a "group" studying psychoacuoustics, which "deals with pitch perception, signal detection, modulation detection, and localization of sound."

This newly minted award isn't just another case of vivisectors giving vivisectors another award for being a good vivisector (a good vivisector is one who publishes lots of scientific papers); no, this seems pretty clearly to be a case of a vivisector needing additional shielding from public scorn and getting it from his buddies.
Psychophysical and physiological evidence for a precedence effect in the median sagittal plane. Litovsky RY, Rakerd B, Yin TC, Hartmann WM. J Neurophysiol. 1997.

Department of Neurophysiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.

Abstract

A listener in a room is exposed to multiple versions of any acoustical event, coming from many different directions in space. The precedence effect is thought to discount the reflected sounds in the computation of location, so that a listener perceives the source near its true location. According to most auditory theories, the precedence effect is mediated by binaural differences. This report presents evidence that the precedence effect operates in the median sagittal plane, where binaural differences are virtually absent and where spectral cues provide information regarding the location of sounds. Parallel studies were conducted in psychophysics by measuring human listeners' performance, and in neurophysiology by measuring responses of single neurons in the inferior colliculus of cats....
Brad Rakerd, one of the authors, is the other principal member of the "group."

You'd have to imagine the press and the public being really, really stupid to think they wouldn't notice the hollow ring to an award like this.

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