holding on a minute (Bob Carlyon )

Subject: holding on a minute
From:    Bob Carlyon  <bob.carlyon(at)MRC-CBU.CAM.AC.UK>
Date:    Tue, 19 Sep 2000 12:52:40 +0100

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 SUMMARY I AM..... 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 BECAUSE...... 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 demonstrations", 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. regards 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 England Phone: (44) 1223 355294 ext 720 Fax: (44) 1223 359062 NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: bob.carlyon(at)mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk

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