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Jan Vigne
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"Color blind" hearing?

I came across a thread on another forum which put forth the premise that all of our senses can be deficient in ways we do not yet fully understand. The main argument for this premise was the number of color blind people who have otherwise normal vision. Among those "color blind" individuals there are those who can be divided into subgroups of various shades of color they cannot perceive and various degrees of color blindness to specific colors. One individual who is red/green color blind may have somewhat better perception of intense hues while other individuals might be totally red/green color blind seeing only shades of grey no matter the intensity of the color presented. Another person can see red/green without problem but is blind to blue/yellow hues. The rare instance would be complete color blindness where everything becomes a black and white movie. Yet all of those afflicted with various degrees and types of color blindness could have "20/20" vision when measured for a more basic perceptive ability.

I know individuals who have a poor sense of smell and those who can detect specific fragrances with ease. The perfume industries select such highly prized individuals as testers for their products. The food and wine industries select those who can pick out the various flavors in a product being prepared for sale. In Italy no Balsamic vinegar, proscuitto, Parmeggiano Regianno or a hundred other specialities can be labelled as DOCC until they have passed a board of expert tasters. I have many friends who can detect small bits of herbs and spices while others haven't a clue what's in a dish.

According to JA an upcoming article in Stereophile will discuss studies which lump us into "diminishers" and "exagerators". That would suggest we all have some ability, whether innate or chosen, which predicts how our senses will pick up on various stimuli. Apparently some of us are simply "better equipped" to use one or more of our senses when we compare our perceptions to those of another individual.

Some of us have perfect pitch and some can easily hear the way a chord progression moves or the timing of a performance is more expressive to some than to others. Musicians speak of another player's "ear" for certain qualities.

Is this then an explanation for why some individuals are better able to hear the effects of cables, AC conditioners, various alternative room treatments, etc? Shouldn't we expect all of our senses to have more or less the same peculiarities and some of us would then be better able to percieve small changes in sound just as the prized sommelier can detect small changes in flavor? If one individual can be color blind but not blind, couldn't another individual be deaf to specific qualites of sound while not being completely deaf?

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

The upcoming article Jan mentions is set to appear in our February issue, and is titled "Are You a Sharpener or a Leveler?"


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Is this then an explanation for why some individuals are better able to hear the effects of cables, AC conditioners, various alternative room treatments, etc? Shouldn't we expect all of our senses to have more or less the same peculiarities and some of us would then be better able to percieve small changes in sound just as the prized sommelier can detect small changes in flavor? If one individual can be color blind but not blind, couldn't another individual be deaf to specific qualites of sound while not being completely deaf?

These are interesting questions. Basically, I think there are some who simply have "great ears," but I also think individuals can learn to become better listeners. I have no knowledge or experience with the idea of "color blind listening," as Jan puts it, but it does seem possible that an individual could be incapable of perceiving certain sounds.

trevort
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Good one, Jan.

I can confirm this is true from my own experience. It also makes sense, theoretically, by analogy as you have done by reference to smell and colour. And it explains why many cannot hear subtle distinctions in sound, as per the many debates in the forum.

For my own part, I was a semi-professional musician and I have poor pitch discernment. I spent years sharpening my limited ability, and have gained enough skill to learn songs by listening to recordings for example, and modest singing ability.

However, my lack of natural discernment is still painfully obvious. I need to "warm up" to be able to get my pitch perception working. Otherwise, I sometimes still feel "pitch blind".

On the other hand, I am an intent listener (enhance by relentless training no doubt), and can hear subtle distinctions in tone and rhythmic adjustment that others seem not to hear easily. And behind it all is a very strong reaction to music that inspired my to toil as a mediocre musician, and that continues to fascinate. Obviously something in the music is hitting home, despite deficiencies in one area.

Which leads me to accept your premise that different people have "blind spots" in their sonic perception.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

I think I tend to agree as well.

I have made small changes in my system and some visitors could not tell the difference while I noticed the differences immediately.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Deja vu!

I agree that there can be variance in hearing, but there is an accompanying can of worms that needs to be opened.

1) Numero uno is a way to reliably identify these differences.

Last night, JSBach suggested hearing tests.

I don't agree that that would be a be-all end-all measuring stick, but some people might want to start there.

We'd also need ways to identify the ability to discriminate pitch changes, timbre, changes in tempo, special cues, etc...

Fine measurement, beyond the levels of typical hearing tests, like determination of auditory thresholds, are a fascinating phenomenon in which people have varying degrees of sensitivity, but, as I mentioned,

All of this would put us in the realm of objective observation to be able to identify who the superior and inferior listeners are.

The days of self proclaimed 'experts' would wane, given that making claims about sighted listening trials would yield no demonstrated differential hearing ability vs. anyone else.
"Because I say so" would become an endangered audio term!

2) All of Jan

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:
there are some who simply have "great ears," but I also think individuals can learn to become better listeners.


Yes to both of those for sure. But in the case of too-small "room treatments," and AC power conditioners, and cable elevators, ad nauseum, the truth is there really is no difference in the physical sound. People are just fooling themselves. If those people prefer to believe they have better hearing - or more "revealing" loudspeakers - than those who are not fooling themselves, that is their right. But it doesn't make it so!

If some people are able to discern a real difference in sound with those doohickeys, then they would be able to do it blind as well as sighted. But they never can.

--Ethan

Jan Vigne
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:
But in the case of too-small "room treatments," and AC power conditioners, and cable elevators, ad nauseum, the truth is there really is no difference in the physical sound. People are just fooling themselves. If those people prefer to believe they have better hearing - or more "revealing" loudspeakers - than those who are not fooling themselves, that is their right. But it doesn't make it so!


Quote:
The days of self proclaimed 'experts' would wane, given that making claims about sighted listening trials would yield no demonstrated differential hearing ability vs. anyone else.
"Because I say so" would become an endangered audio term!

Buddha
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:
Good one, Jan.

I can confirm this is true from my own experience. It also makes sense, theoretically, by analogy as you have done by reference to smell and colour. And it explains why many cannot hear subtle distinctions in sound, as per the many debates in the forum.

For my own part, I was a semi-professional musician and I have poor pitch discernment. I spent years sharpening my limited ability, and have gained enough skill to learn songs by listening to recordings for example, and modest singing ability.

However, my lack of natural discernment is still painfully obvious. I need to "warm up" to be able to get my pitch perception working. Otherwise, I sometimes still feel "pitch blind".

On the other hand, I am an intent listener (enhance by relentless training no doubt), and can hear subtle distinctions in tone and rhythmic adjustment that others seem not to hear easily. And behind it all is a very strong reaction to music that inspired my to toil as a mediocre musician, and that continues to fascinate. Obviously something in the music is hitting home, despite deficiencies in one area.

Which leads me to accept your premise that different people have "blind spots" in their sonic perception.

Great observations!

Now, other than taking one's word that these 'holes' in our preception exist, how would we be able to identify them?

From your example, I would bet that we could play certain pitch related sounds for you or someone who is a pitch expert and the expert would outperform you.

The expert may be able to more readily identify certain changes or characteristics that you cannot.

Do you find that those who are more discerning at things about pitch need to be told what they will hear in advance, or does the skill work for them 'on the fly?'

I ask because so many audiphiles claim to possess skills that cannot be demonstrated, so I'm wondering if the people you have worked with can identify pitch without being told which pitch they are hearing!

Interestingly, there are objective studies revealing that people have different abilities to discern pitch. Pitch distinction is one of the more physiologic things we discuss.

In studies, the average person is limited to about one tenth of a semitone for change in pitch. It's a reliably demonstrable and repeatable measure, and training has been shown to help - but the subjects do not require that the frequencies of the pitches they will be hearing be told to them in order to able to state they hear differences.

Have you noticed a sort of lower limit for pitch discrimination that you see others do but you cannot?
very interesting!

For me, this is getting to the heart of the discussion!

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:

Quote:
But in the case of too-small "room treatments," and AC power conditioners, and cable elevators, ad nauseum, the truth is there really is no difference in the physical sound. People are just fooling themselves. If those people prefer to believe they have better hearing - or more "revealing" loudspeakers - than those who are not fooling themselves, that is their right. But it doesn't make it so!


Quote:
The days of self proclaimed 'experts' would wane, given that making claims about sighted listening trials would yield no demonstrated differential hearing ability vs. anyone else.
"Because I say so" would become an endangered audio term!

Is audio the only sense related passtime that is to remain unfettered by demonstrable skill?

Telling someone what they are listening to and having them agree is not very impressive.

Jan, you mentioned different types of experts in the realm of the senses. Can you explain why they are expected to be able to perform in blind fashion and how their skills would translate to our hobby? Are you proposing audiophile evaluation and awarding 'expert' status in a similar fashion? How would you identify the expert listeners?

Your examples were excellent, by the way - terrific examplars of how we apply subjective experience in objective ways! It's just that they are being used as examples to bolster the pretty much universally agreed upon notion that different people hear differently, in a hobby where so many subjectivist audiophiles find the idea anathema!

Using those experts as examples of varying skill levels of taste, scent, sight all necessitate blind testing conditions. How do you reconcile that with the claims audiophiles make? Subjectivist audiphiles may find your perfectly fine examples anathema!

I don't claim all people who claim to be able to hear things are wrong, I'm just going along with how we would annoint someone an expert in this endeavor. All your examples are based on blind/objective testing!

Same with ttt's pitch observations - very objectively identifiable!

Since we seem to agree that different people have different skill sets or listening abilities, how do you propose we identify those differences other than telling them what gear they are listening to and allowing them to expound upon a known quantity?

In all your expert examples, those people would be thrown out of their positions if that were the case.

Again, great topic. I look forward to learning what criteria you would use to identify listeners in your pantheon of experts and how you'd apply those criteria!

trevort
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

You've got me feeling all guinea-piggy here, Buddha.

I'm aware that the pitch sensitivity is a closer analogue to audiophile sensitivity than colour-blindness, but is still an analogy. I've learned to beware the limits of analogies, but in the interests of exploration, here's an earnest response, even though I'm not sure how you'll use my story to get to the heart of the matter.

First, in my own case, its key to separate perfect pitch - the ability to name a note in isolation - from relative pitch - the ability to name the relation between two notes.

I only know one person who has perfect pitch, and yes, she had the ability to identify the note in advance.

Relative pitch is what I'm referring to, and that is the ability to say the second note is higher in pitch than the first, and by how much. I took tons of listening tests in music school to develop this ability. You put on headphones, the tape plays, you identify the pitches, get score. So in that sense, its a pretty objective measure.

In practice, as a musician, this comes into play when someone plays a song, and the others must learn the melody by listening. There is a range of ability to do this, from catching whole melody after one listen, to catching bits and assembling over repeated listens (like me), to having to be told each note. The former are examples of picking up on the fly, the latter perhaps fits with an example of having to be told in advance.

I realize this is perhaps a bit of a stretch to relate to ability to discern subtle differences between system setup, but the topic is fascinating.

With respect to small pitch discrimination, I've never taken the formal tests you mention, but in practice it's evident when tuning instruments together. In this case, its identifying slight differences between two notes that are nominally or approximentally the same pitch. Ironically, this is something I'm relatively good at. I think this is because I can somehow hear overtones ok, and I use the overtones to aid my pitch discernment, which is a good way to make fine discrimination, while hearing the root gets you into the ballpark.

So with my fellow musicians there are some that can find the tune better than me, but play less precisely in tune than I do.

Now, how does one objectively prove the difference in this relative ability? I can easily imagine the tests that would prove discernment around 1/10 semitone. I could be much like what I described above.

In practice, this comes out when I hear someone tune their instrument and when they are done, I am able to suggest additional adjustment to bring it into tune. On the other hand this could be just lack of concern about tuning, rather than lack of ability.

Incidentally, I think this ability to discern the overtones relates to discerning sound colouration, as it is the overtones that define the colour. Perhaps those with less ability to hear overtones may have less ability to hear system differences, even though they may have perfect pitch.

How's that for guinea-pigging?

Jan Vigne
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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2) All of Jan
Jan Vigne
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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I ask because so many audiphiles claim to possess skills that cannot be demonstrated

How could they not be demonstrable if the person identifies a perceived change? If you are referring to DBT's, then we are headed off in the wrong direction IMO.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Great guinea pigging!

I guess the crux of trying to find a way to identify expert listeners is how we identify them and what criteria we can identify to accomplish this.

Pitch, relative pitch, even changes in tempo, etc...seem to be things that are rather objective, yet we can identify these things via subjective experience!

A conductor can hear the one out of tune violin, you can readily identify small changes in pitch and make accurate observations that have a basis in frequency response - all very objective!

There are people who can immediately tell you the difference between a 1956 Martin 000-18 and a 1973 D-18, all without needing to know in advance which guitar they are hearing. So why is it only in our hobby that we are so blasse about allowing people to proclaim they have abilities, yet these abilities cannot be demonstrated?

If you told me you had superior pitch resolving abilities, it would likely have some objective basis. Some audiophiles hate the notion of having to 'prove' their claims.

Sounds like you have very objective observations about your art!

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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Is audio the only sense related passtime that is to remain unfettered by demonstrable skill?

I simply must disagree with your concept that these are "objective skills" being demonstrated. There is no DBT to creating an artificial banana fragrance and taste unless you consider adding a bit more alphaomegaglutomate to the mix to enhance the banana fragrance a "blind" skill.

The "experts" do not turn off their innate abilites when they are not "at work". They still possess the same ability to discriminate between flavors, fragrances, sounds, etc. That they continue to do so under non-test conditions doesn't imply that only under DB testing can these abilities be demonstrated, in fact, I would say it does just the opposite.

In the case of the DOCC for Balsamic vinegar the only thing the tasters/testers are blind to is the name of the producer. Their innate ability is to display fine discrimination between flavors and fragrances along with, in this case, the subjective "look" of the final product. They are not presented with two samples of vinegar and asked to say which is which or whether one is vinegar and the other is wine. They are judging whether the sample in front of them can be labelled DOCC.

Many variables go into that assessment; the age of the product, a six year old vinegar is expected to be quite unlike a twelve or twenty year old variety. Balsamic is created by aging in various wooden casks. How old those casks are will change the final product as will the weather conditions over the aging period and the location of the casks during the entire aging process not to mention the initial quality of the grape used to produce the vinegar. The tasters are deciding whether the final product they are selecting lives up to the notion of "Balsamic" that can earn the DOCC label. As with wine, or cheese or salumi the context of the product is taken into account, consistency is desired but the concept of "Balsamic" is superior and one year's production might be of a higher grade than another year or one producer's product might be lower in intensity due to a new batch of casks being used for a portion of the aging. One vinegar might favor one flavor in its after taste while another product might favor a different taste sensation. Should a product be disqualified for DOCC labelling, the producer can still sell the finished product as Balsamic vinegar, only without the DOCC designation.

I see nothing that is "objective" about that process and I see nothing that is "double blind" about any of those procedures. It is the tasters innate ability to discriminate between complex flavors and textures not their ability to tell the difference between two products and label only one as "this" while the other becomes "not this".

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:
There are people who can immediately tell you the difference between a 1956 Martin 000-18 and a 1973 D-18, all without needing to know in advance which guitar they are hearing. So why is it only in our hobby that we are so blasse about allowing people to proclaim they have abilities, yet these abilities cannot be demonstrated?

If you told me you had superior pitch resolving abilities, it would likely have some objective basis. Some audiophiles hate the notion of having to 'prove' their claims.

Why such a bias against audiophiles when the thread is about the innate abilities of audiophiles? You continue to say their abilities cannot be demonstrated.

Why not? They are on display every day. That you choose to discount those experiences does not remove them from existence.


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"Because I say so" would become an endangered audio term!

What then are you reading every month when your copy of Stereophile arrives? Do you distrust every subjective reviewer's abilities?

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:

Quote:
I ask because so many audiphiles claim to possess skills that cannot be demonstrated

How could they not be demonstrable if the person identifies a perceived change? If you are referring to DBT's, then we are headed off in the wrong direction IMO.

I agree that DBT is a blunt instrument, but blind evaluation is not. It's the basis of the expertise you mentioned in the OP.

I do not require DBT for wine tasting trials, but I taste blind all the time. I should be able to describe my experience without benefit of having the bottle in front of me. Otherwise, I'm merely 'drinking the label.' Same with the experts you mention - they can demonstrate their abilities without knowing the exact parameters of the object in question in advance. They participate in blind testing and retain exquisite accuracy!

You ask, "How could they not be demonstrable if the person identifies a perceived change?"

I would answer that it can be done in the fashion of all those experts you mention.

DBT aside, we agree on that. But why would an audiophile need to know the name/brand of an interconnect in order to be able to describe its characteristics, and why should he not be able to do this repeatably, as do the experts you mention?

All of your experts can do that, but not audiophiles?

A wine expert requiring that he know what wine he is drinking before he can describe its characteristics or tell it apart from another wine would be ridiculous, but not in audio land!

In another post you mention acquired skills - right you are! Everything cognitive we do while listening is learned: Top down, as it were. But we are also at the mercy of our innate abilities to get the physical phenomenon from the outer world into our brains in order to be processed and identified: Bottom up, if you will.

Music listening requires both. So, I'll land in the middle and call the skills I mentioned a mixture of both innate ability combined with learned discrimination. Hence, my examples. Those people have innate abilities and then augment those skills with training. The ultrsonographer does not require he be told the finding in advance, he can go in blind and make an objective prediction that can be objectively validated...simply by using his subjective skills. His claims can be reliably repeated. (No DBT BS involved, we agree there. He/she is describing without knowing in advance what his senses tell him, with repeatable dependability. Would you trust one who couldn't do that? But many do in audio. I guess the stakes are so low, who cares about repeatability?)

Now, we sit here listening to our Hi Fi's, and we want to talk about people with defects in their audio perception. I can't imagine you'd leave it at "Knowing what cable I'm listening to, I will be able to tell you how it sounds; but if I do not know which cable it is, I lack this ability."

I don't want DBT, I'd like to see a more reliable gauge of discernment than we often settle for.

You examples of 'subjective experts' is great. We need that level of rigor in Hi Fi!

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:

Quote:
There are people who can immediately tell you the difference between a 1956 Martin 000-18 and a 1973 D-18, all without needing to know in advance which guitar they are hearing. So why is it only in our hobby that we are so blasse about allowing people to proclaim they have abilities, yet these abilities cannot be demonstrated?

If you told me you had superior pitch resolving abilities, it would likely have some objective basis. Some audiophiles hate the notion of having to 'prove' their claims.

Why such a bias against audiophiles when the thread is about the innate abilities of audiophiles? You continue to say their abilities cannot be demonstrated.

Why not? They are on display every day. That you choose to discount those experiences does not remove them from existence.

Again, requiring that they know the brand and model of an interconnect or tweak in advance before they can hear a difference is a weak claim to infallibility. These skills 'may' be on display, but who'd know it from confabulation the way it is presented? There seems to be no curiosity about exploring whether something one claims to hear is repeatable without knowing what one is listening to. Anyone can be an expert when all the parameters are laid out before him and all he has to do is announce his dicerning tastes!

"That you choose to discount those experiences does not remove them from existence.

This is true, I discount those experiences that require someone know which product he is listening to in order to describe its soound and then seeing said claim translated into someone expecting his words be taken as indisputable fact. Big difference!


Quote:
"Because I say so" would become an endangered audio term!

What then are you reading every month when your copy of Stereophile arrives? Do you distrust every subjective reviewer's abilities?

Yes, I do have some level of distrust. You don't? I have seen reviewers hear the fabulosity of cables that don't carry signal, and broken devices rated at the highest level. I've seen NIGHT AND DAY tweak differences reported - as those same tweaks come and then quietly disappear from reference systems. This year, I saw a Mu Fi "Supercharger" product go from spectacular Category A rating to being described as deeply flawed and undesirable on follow up.

So, I distrust all reviewers at some level. Do you take them all on blind faith as infallible? Reviewers are relating and opinion, not pronouncing indisputable fact. Fremer this month condemned small full range single driver speakers - is that fact? Should I trust him on this?

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:

Quote:
Is audio the only sense related passtime that is to remain unfettered by demonstrable skill?

I simply must disagree with your concept that these are "objective skills" being demonstrated. There is no DBT to creating an artificial banana fragrance and taste unless you consider adding a bit more alphaomegaglutomate to the mix to enhance the banana fragrance a "blind" skill.

The "experts" do not turn off their innate abilites when they are not "at work". They still possess the same ability to discriminate between flavors, fragrances, sounds, etc. That they continue to do so under non-test conditions doesn't imply that only under DB testing can these abilities be demonstrated, in fact, I would say it does just the opposite.

In the case of the DOCC for Balsamic vinegar the only thing the tasters/testers are blind to is the name of the producer. Their innate ability is to display fine discrimination between flavors and fragrances along with, in this case, the subjective "look" of the final product. They are not presented with two samples of vinegar and asked to say which is which or whether one is vinegar and the other is wine. They are judging whether the sample in front of them can be labelled DOCC.

Many variables go into that assessment; the age of the product, a six year old vinegar is expected to be quite unlike a twelve or twenty year old variety. Balsamic is created by aging in various wooden casks. How old those casks are will change the final product as will the weather conditions over the aging period and the location of the casks during the entire aging process not to mention the initial quality of the grape used to produce the vinegar. The tasters are deciding whether the final product they are selecting lives up to the notion of "Balsamic" that can earn the DOCC label. As with wine, or cheese or salumi the context of the product is taken into account, consistency is desired but the concept of "Balsamic" is superior and one year's production might be of a higher grade than another year or one producer's product might be lower in intensity due to a new batch of casks being used for a portion of the aging. One vinegar might favor one flavor in its after taste while another product might favor a different taste sensation. Should a product be disqualified for DOCC labelling, the producer can still sell the finished product as Balsamic vinegar, only without the DOCC designation.

I see nothing that is "objective" about that process and I see nothing that is "double blind" about any of those procedures. It is the tasters innate ability to discriminate between complex flavors and textures not their ability to tell the difference between two products and label only one as "this" while the other becomes "not this".

Right, they are performing in a blind test. I did not say DBT. If I did, my bad.

Big difference between DBT and performing a task in blind fashion.

As you mention, those experts are performing under conditions in which they are not told all the parameters of the product in question - blind evaluation.

trevort
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Following on the ability to hear the difference between two guitars, the idea of objectively evaluating listener expertise could derive from testing the ability to make such discriminations.

I'd start by eliminating the subjectivity of the audio system. Test by seeing if buddy can blindly tell between live instruments:
violin / viola
trumpet / flugelhorn
Baldin / Yamaha piano
1956 Martin 000-18 and a 1973 D-18
etc. progressively more similar sounds

Assemble a committee of folks that can hear these things decide how well a newcomer needs to score to get into the club. Of course they'd have to pass their own test.

Those that can get the easy ones, get one stripe novice rating, the better discriminators get two stripes and so on.

So far so good, I think, as this is much like other societies.

The system becomes more burdensome when applying the same approach to sound systems:

Compare identical systems with single components swapped. A universal reference recording would be desirable.
Start with switching between speakers
Then switch between amplifiers
Proceed progressively into esoterica

It starts to boggle, imagining the effort involved in conducting the tests. Maybe that's why this pursuit lacks objective ratings?

trevort
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

On a bit of a tangent:

This difference in discrimination ability might not just be about sensory ability, it might have a basis in mental processing.

You know the Meyers-Briggs personality test? According to that, some folks are Judgers, some are Perceivers. The former tend to see the world in black and white, that latter see shades of grey.

Perhaps this basic personality difference affects how people hear sounds. When I hear some folks dismiss the ability of a certain component to make a difference, I wonder if those folks might be Judger types. They lack the disposition to seek the shades of grey and instead seek to organize their experience into Things That Can Make A Difference (measurable by instruments or whatever), and Those That Can't (defying their logic).

On the other hand, Perceivers will tend to look for differences, as they tend to see everything as slightly different (shades of grey), so they are not only open to experience discriminations, they will seek out those differences.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:
On a bit of a tangent:

This difference in discrimination ability might not just be about sensory ability, it might have a basis in mental processing.

You know the Meyers-Briggs personality test? According to that, some folks are Judgers, some are Perceivers. The former tend to see the world in black and white, that latter see shades of grey.

Perhaps this basic personality difference affects how people hear sounds. When I hear some folks dismiss the ability of a certain component to make a difference, I wonder if those folks might be Judger types. They lack the disposition to seek the shades of grey and instead seek to organize their experience into Things That Can Make A Difference (measurable by instruments or whatever), and Those That Can't (defying their logic).

On the other hand, Perceivers will tend to look for differences, as they tend to see everything as slightly different (shades of grey), so they are not only open to experience discriminations, they will seek out those differences.

Or, perhaps it is those "J" types that can tell us the difference and the "P" types are not able to listen decisively.

Either way, not knowing a tweak was there, or not; or not knowing the brand of gear that is in place should not preclude the ability to hear things.

We had another thread about developing critical listening skills, and some were opposed to the idea. Now we have this thread, stating that critical listening is important, and some people are more able to do it than others! Just based on their say so!

Lots of variation of opinion, sometimes even between the same person!

ttt, you are right about the difficulty of appointing experts. That's one reason I think asking for repeatable findings in listening conditions of a person's choosing - done blind - would be about the best goal possible.

Then, all you have to do is make sure the person was reporting honestly!

I remain in the subjective camp, however. I would like to have Ethan over to listen to some interconnects - and then he'd say one was not properly designed, etc...and I'd say, 'different!'

I've heard interconnects I've liked and not liked, amps I've liked and not liked, etc...

Speakers and cartridges? Don't get me started. However, I do not insist that you tell me I'm listening to a Lyra Helikon before I am willing to let you know how I think it sounds.

That seems to be the Maginot Line of the hobby! The Berlin Wall, the Mason Dixon Line, the Bamboo Curtain...

Oh! PS!

"This difference in discrimination ability might not just be about sensory ability, it might have a basis in mental processing."

It's both! It's more!

It's sound pressure variations, vibration frequencies, ear/world interaction, neuron activation, signal delivery, processing, integration, and interpretation.

Physical vibration of air exists in the 'real world,' music exists in your mind!

Cheers, man. Thanks for being on this thread!

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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DBT aside, we agree on that. But why would an audiophile need to know the name/brand of an interconnect in order to be able to describe its characteristics, and why should he not be able to do this repeatably, as do the experts you mention?
All of your experts can do that, but not audiophiles?

Says who? You are willfully ignoring vast amounts of subjective reviewing in favor of your opinion that runs counter to such procedures. Because you fall into the "diminishers" and "levelers" you prefer to deny the "exagerators" and the "sharpeners" their due.

I've done single blind tests many times both on myself and for others. On most occasions I can identify the change and on a few cases I cannot, the same with most of my friends. That doesn't prove the ones I cannot identify do not work as suggested any more than the ones my friends pass on but I hear would prove they are right and I am wrong. When I know what has been changed I am not dishonest about the results as you suggest always happens. I have no reason to be dishonest with myself about music. If I hear a change and I always hear the same degree of change, then perception is reality whether I see what has changed or not.


Quote:
Now, we sit here listening to our Hi Fi's, and we want to talk about people with defects in their audio perception. I can't imagine you'd leave it at "Knowing what cable I'm listening to, I will be able to tell you how it sounds; but if I do not know which cable it is, I lack this ability."

You are the only one introducing "knowing what cable" into the discussion. I don't see the point of this since "seeing" a product is not consequential to what is perceived. Now you are calling everyone who doesn't do blind tests the way you want them done dishonest. First of all that tosses almost fifty years of Stereophile into the dumpster. Secondly, what you say has no validity in the reality of audio. If I'm demonstrating components and I make a switch when the client doesn't know what I switched to or if I switched anything, they have no reason to say they are hearing anything unless they actually hear something. Whether you care to believe it or not, selling and buying audio is not a game of three card monte. You're back to making stuff up just to support a cockamamee idea that you care to believe.

Thirdly, you are now moving the thread away from innate ability to just saying everyone who doesn't hear what you hear is making things up. That's the point of the thread. We are not making things up just because you can't hear what we describe. That is the difference between "levelers" and "sharpeners". But because you levellers diminish any changes you insist the sharpeners are exagerating.

You've agreed to the concept of innate abilities but now you prefer to take away from those who hear differently than you just for the sake of not being labelled a "diminisher". You are hung up on this "superior" amd "inferior" labelling you prefer.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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Again, requiring that they know the brand and model of an interconnect or tweak in advance before they can hear a difference is a weak claim to infallibility.

And again that is not how audio works in the real world. As May has stated numerous times, there are multiple reviewers who audition a component in multiple rooms and systems. They are separated by time and space with no communication between them. Yet they come to largely the same conclusions in many if not most cases. To willfully ignore such evidence is simply being dishonest. But that's what you choose to do because it fits your ideas of how this all works and doesn't make anyone a "superior" listener to you. Forget the "superior" and "inferior" stuff and just allow for everyone to have innate abilites of their own.

If you can't do that, then you are merely arguing for the sake of arguing without anything to back up your statements. You just see not hearing as "inferior" and that isn't what you care to be. That's the point of the thread, we all have innate abilities that are our very own.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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As you mention, those experts are performing under conditions in which they are not told all the parameters of the product in question - blind evaluation.

So what if they are not choosing "this" and "not this"? So far all you've proven is that the hunter in Colorado knows the sound of a deer but not a rhinocerous.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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On a bit of a tangent:

This difference in discrimination ability might not just be about sensory ability, it might have a basis in mental processing.

You know the Meyers-Briggs personality test? According to that, some folks are Judgers, some are Perceivers. The former tend to see the world in black and white, that latter see shades of grey.

Perhaps this basic personality difference affects how people hear sounds. When I hear some folks dismiss the ability of a certain component to make a difference, I wonder if those folks might be Judger types. They lack the disposition to seek the shades of grey and instead seek to organize their experience into Things That Can Make A Difference (measurable by instruments or whatever), and Those That Can't (defying their logic).

On the other hand, Perceivers will tend to look for differences, as they tend to see everything as slightly different (shades of grey), so they are not only open to experience discriminations, they will seek out those differences.

Here's something from a similar thread on another forum ...


Quote:
The another interesting aspect is how we are all "hardwired" at birth. If you study NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) they teach you how to determine someones representational system bias. There are four; Digital,Visual,Audio, and Kinesthetic. If your primary representational system bias is audio, you live more by your sense of hearing than most. Typical traits of an audio are that they write almost nothing down, they are very sensitive to tone of voice in discussions, they like to have information spoken to them (or they read it and speak it to themselves), etc. They typically have excellent recall from discussions....like having a stenographer in the room. What's interesting is that most people with audio as a hobby are digitals, or analysts. People who are largely logical, step by step sort of people. They like instructions...preferably written in bullet form ...

One sales technique used by mulitple professions - I've had it explained to me by police officers, lawyers, doctors, hypnotists, etc. - is to determine what "personality type" each client reflects. When you are in front of an "audio" personality type, you use certain words that are meant to stimulate their attention centers. You use different words when speaking to a "spatial" or a "visual" and so on. Using "audio" words on a "visual" client will get you nowhere.

So, yes, this is the hardwiring I was getting at in the op. It doesn't represent a "superior" or an "inferior" type of personality or hearing or sensory accuity. It simply says we are all different and what one of us perceives will not be what others perceive.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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As you mention, those experts are performing under conditions in which they are not told all the parameters of the product in question - blind evaluation.

So what if they are not choosing "this" and "not this"? So far all you've proven is that the hunter in Colorado knows the sound of a deer but not a rhinocerous.

What is it with you and "proven" bullshit? We're comparing opinions. You claim there is partial audiophile retardation and point out that there are experts in other subjective endeavors that use subjective senses to draw objective conlusions, proving what, I might ask?

I'm saying that you mentioned many types of expert who do not need to know a priori the thing they are about to evaluate.

They can tell things about something without being told something like, "You are listening to Brand X interconnect. Now tell us about it."

They can do it minus the "Brand X" set up.

No big deal for experts of the senses, but a deal breaker for some audiophiles who refuse to consider the notion!

I think it was you who proved the value of blind evaluation by choosing examples of experts who do just that! I'm just agreeing with you.

Can you maybe name some experts who need to know the brand and model of something that requires subjective sense evaluation before they are capable of evaluating it, and then are deemed experts even if they can't do the same without knowing the brand and model?

Not flaming, just wondering if such examples exist.

Maybe for restaurant and movie critics, but not for anything in a circumstance where pure sense abilities and ability to identify objects or their condition is required.

I'm picturing food experts who would claim they need to know all the ingredients before they can discuss what they are tasting.

Feel free to run with the movie or restaurant thing, those require no blind abilities - pure 'opinion.' Like audio reviewing!

Hey, did you toss out your speakers after reading Fremer's RMAF report?

You don't trust reviewers, either.

Hey, come to Vegas for CES and audition stuff! Maybe we can still meet in the road!

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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We had another thread about developing critical listening skills, and some were opposed to the idea. Now we have this thread, stating that critical listening is important, and some people are more able to do it than others! Just based on their say so!

Where in this thread was it stated "critical listening" is important?


Quote:
ttt, you are right about the difficulty of appointing experts. That's one reason I think asking for repeatable findings in listening conditions of a person's choosing - done blind - would be about the best goal possible.

Then, all you have to do is make sure the person was reporting honestly!

If you don't trust the person no matter whether they are listening blind or sighted, what's left?


Quote:
Speakers and cartridges? Don't get me started. However, I do not insist that you tell me I'm listening to a Lyra Helikon before I am willing to let you know how I think it sounds.

Show me the individual on the Stereophile staff or on this forum who requires that sort of knowledge before they can decide whether they prefer a component or not. You keep repeating this same line without any proof it is valid.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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Again, requiring that they know the brand and model of an interconnect or tweak in advance before they can hear a difference is a weak claim to infallibility.

And again that is not how audio works in the real world. As May has stated numerous times, there are multiple reviewers who audition a component in multiple rooms and systems. They are separated by time and space with no communication between them. Yet they come to largely the same conclusions in many if not most cases. To willfully ignore such evidence is simply being dishonest. But that's what you choose to do because it fits your ideas of how this all works and doesn't make anyone a "superior" listener to you. Forget the "superior" and "inferior" stuff and just allow for everyone to have innate abilites of their own.

If you can't do that, then you are merely arguing for the sake of arguing without anything to back up your statements. You just see not hearing as "inferior" and that isn't what you care to be. That's the point of the thread, we all have innate abilities that are our very own.

You mean that these people, knowing the brand and model of interconnect, can compare sonic attributes when used in different systems, but become deaf when they do not know the brand and model?

All those differences evaporate?

Really?

Sounds a little phony to me.

So, you can drink a Bud in the living room, at the beach, or in a diner, and so long as you know it's Bud every time, you can tell me about it. But, if I cover the label, you can no longer perform that task?

Why the need to know?

Why the taboo?

The basis of Belt tweaks is knowing they are in place. Great. If that's part of the schtick, then at least be 'honest' about it. Just say, "You need to know this is in place for it to work." Like Dumbo's feather.

I'm not arguing for argument's sake, I am disagreeing about the infallibility of listeners who require that they know the brand and model item or tweak they are listening to before they can render listening impressions, and maybe do it more than one time in a row.

Where are the listener savants?

If knowing what you are listening to is a requirement for you to render opinion and you cannot repeat your findings blind, then fine. I don't care. Just spare me the BS about your (or anyone's listening ability) when the sound of an item evaporates when you don't have brand name and model - that's just Paris Hilton audiophilia.
Again, look to your own examples of 'experts.' They can all do it blind!

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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What is it with you and "proven" bullshit? We're comparing opinions. You claim there is partial audiophile retardation and point out that there are experts in other subjective endeavors that use subjective senses to draw objective conlusions, proving what, I might ask?

Well, considering you've got none of that right, it's difficult to answer your question. I never said innate abilities were a "retardation". Would you say someone who is color blind is "retarded"? Would you consider someone with diabetes to be "retarded"? Would you suppose we could make their innate abilites better by ... what? ... keeping them with their own kind? If not then why suggest that is the parallel I am drawing with this thread? If it is, then, really, Buddha, you need a slap upside the head and a reality check.


Quote:
I'm saying that you mentioned many types of expert who do not need to know a priori the thing they are about to evaluate.

And I'm saying once again that statement is BS!


Quote:
I think it was you who proved the value of blind evaluation by choosing examples of experts who do just that! I'm just agreeing with you.

No, it wasn't me. As a matter of fact, no one on the thread has managed to do that.


Quote:
Feel free to run with the movie or restaurant thing, those require no blind abilities - pure 'opinion.'

How about I just ignore everything you've posted since you've said nothing and only repeated the same dishonesty a dozen times. And even when confronted with unpleasant facts, you'll simply lie your way out of them. Another great discussion, Buddha.

Anyone care to discuss innate abilities?

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Jan, you are an artful dodger.

Answer nothing, claim everything.

Go read over that "How to argue like a fool" post by Geoff.

See you next year.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

I don't make stuff up just to suit myself and then do nothing but repeat it over and over.

Buddha, if this thread has any life left in it, I'll ignore what you post as long as all you can say is audiophiles need to see something to know what to hear. It's BS and I'm not interested in the same old, tired BS that this forum has thrived on for the last five years.

The thread is about our own innate abilities and their effect on our perception. It is not about Buddha's prejudices against those who can hear what he cannot.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Certainly we can train ourself to better our skills. Skills however are not what I'm talking about in this thread. I'm trying to restrain the discussion to "innate abilites". There are no great athletes, surgeons, performers without a great deal of effort being put into becoming the best in a field. However, you can train for years or even decades and still not reach the top of your chosen field if you do not have that extra innate ability that sets the best apart from the very good.

I always suggest everyone go out and listen and think. Listen to live music and think about what you've heard. Listen to reproduced music and think about what you've heard. My experience tells me two individuals sitting side by side can and very likely will have dissimilar response to what they have heard. It happens with experienced and unexperienced listeners alike.

Therefore, what are your thoughts on "innate abilities"? Do you know someone who has abilities "far beyond those of mortal men". Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Able to stop bullets? Outrun trains?

What sets those individuals apart from the rest? Are those abilities similar to the "born with" deficiencies of someone who is color blind or are these now two distinct things? In other words, you can teach someone to have a better swing at a baseball or a golf ball, but there are still those with natural abilites that will rise to the top. I've heard batters say they can pick up on the way the ball rotates, which seems an impossible thing to do when a four inch round object is coming at you at 95 m.p.h.

On the other hand there is a limit to what can be done by way of training to improve the color perception of a color blind individual.

Are either of these related to our ability to hear?

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Innate abilities? There are no direct parallels between hearing and the deficits in the other senses to which people are making analogies. (If this has been said before, I apologize as I have not been willing to read the entire thread.)

Color blindness, of its various types, is due to a loss of the specific receptor molecules for a particular bandwidth of wavelengths of light. Since the individual cannot transduce those wavelengths properly, the CNS never gets the message and perception of them is impossible.

Similarly, losses of classes of receptor molecules (or over-expression of some) will change the ability of the olfactory system to inform the CNS that particular odorant molecules exist. That, also, has a great impact on gustatory sensation.

What is being discussed here with respect to hearing is not the ability to transduce and perceive a pitch or an amplitude as the presumption is that individuals have "normal" hearing. It is entirely a learning and/or attention issue.

Kal

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Sorry, Kal, I guess I'm not understanding what you've said. I would assume you believe our hearing apparatus doesn't function in a similar fashion to any of our other senses. And you feel the division of personalties into groups such as "auditory", "visual", "digital" or "kinesthetic" is not useful?

It sounds as if you think we can all teach ourself to have perfect pitch. But that doesn't explain to me those individuals who have perfect pitch without any effort being put forth to develop that ability. We are all created equal and it is only what we learn that sets us apart?

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Such an effusion of benificence in the middle of this thread.
All in the name of New Year's cheer, I suppose!

I lost your reference here:

That seems to be the Maginot Line of the hobby! The Berlin Wall, the Mason Dixon Line, the Bamboo Curtain...

But it seems your overall intent is to hold audio hearing experts to objective account. In other words, be able to identify differences blindly. This seems reasonable, as an "expert" can be expected to have the depth of background to be able to articulate the differences they perceive. With the hypothetical certification, analogous to certification applied to other senses, the expert should have a palette of objective references and corresponding language to organize their experience. For example, wine tasters and their many words (spice, cedar wood, leather, etc) to articulate their experience. That would allow the listening expert to say I hear x and y here and y and z there.

It seems too much to ask an expert to identify the exact product, although a highly experienced expert may be able to remember that a certain product has qualities of x and y, and make the edjucated guess.

On the other hand a discerning but un-certified listener may well be able to hear a difference but not be able to describe it.

I'm sure that's where a lot of us hobbyist are at. Some can hear a difference between different amplifiers, but have not learned the objective anchors that allow them to articulate the differences perceived. Further, the lack of anchors makes remembering and thus comparing sounds more difficult, so listeners rely on the external references - the labels/brands that are in the system.

I agree there is a tendency to "hear the label" as you say, but beyond that, I think the simple lack of memory anchors does explain why it is difficult for folks to explain the differences they perceive without knowing what it is they are listening to.

And the above is a separate topic from identifying those who simply don't hear a difference, possibly because they are not inclined or equiped to, either because they shut of their listening because they've reasoned no differences can exist or because the differences are beyond their hearing theshold.

Where they all come together is establishing an objective hearing framework, against which listeners can test and articulate their perceptions. Some would do better than others, for different reasons, but the benefit of such a framework would be both increased ability to communicate those differences, and increased ability to hone one's discernment skills.

Unfortunately, the nature of sound is that it seems very hard to develop such a framework.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Hi, ttt.

The references I made regard the line that some audiophiles hold against being asked to objectively demonstrate claimed skills.

I don't expect an 'expert' to identify gear upon listening, but I would expect someone who claims to be able to describe what he heard each time he heard that gear and be able to make the same decsriptions without needing to know the name and model of what he was hearing.

Not too big a deal.

Now, since this thread has been declared by Jan to be about 'innate' abilities, then all we need to do is ask how these innate abilities be identified!

If the answer is, "Asking someone what he thinks about a piece of gear only when he knows what he's hearing," then that is not an answer.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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Sorry, Kal, I guess I'm not understanding what you've said. I would assume you believe our hearing apparatus doesn't function in a similar fashion to any of our other senses.

No. I was saying that the deficits ascribed to vision and olfaction by previous posters are due to the lack/loss of specific receptors. OTOH, the differences in "hearing" discussed in this thread are really central NS issues. In the former, the information never gets to the CNS; in the latter, it does but seems to be processed differently in different individuals.

I was not disputing the issue under discussion, merely that it was not a relevant analogy to describe it as "Color blind" hearing.

Kal

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Kal - is it not possible that hearing deficiencies might be part of malfunctioning "equipment"?
For example, we know that folks lose the ability to hear high frequencies as they age. Perhaps individuals have frequency response gaps, say because the cilia are missing or not working well.
I can imagine that deficiencies in the ability to hear and distinguish overtones would limit the ability to discriminate between similar sounds.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry, Kal, I guess I'm not understanding what you've said. I would assume you believe our hearing apparatus doesn't function in a similar fashion to any of our other senses.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No. I was saying that the deficits ascribed to vision and olfaction by previous posters are due to the lack/loss of specific receptors. OTOH, the differences in "hearing" discussed in this thread are really central NS issues. In the former, the information never gets to the CNS; in the latter, it does but seems to be processed differently in different individuals.

I was not disputing the issue under discussion, merely that it was not a relevant analogy to describe it as "Color blind" hearing.

Then do you see an analogy between how the NCS processes hearing and the "hypersensitivity" of those who have other senses - smell or taste - sharpened to the point of being "highly regarded" in certain areas?

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Here's an example of the difficulty in setting up an "auditory palette" - a framework with which to describe - and thus organize and remember - subtly different sounds.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090101.RUSSELL01/TPStory/TPEntertainment/?query=
The article compares taste - with the familar 5 components of salty, sweet, etc. - and smell, which only has comparison words, and many of them, to use to describe a smell. He goes on to lament that it is very difficult to recognize even standard reference scents.
Of interest in the current context is the analagous difficulty in finding and using sound words to organize and remember experienced sound qualities.

Of course it is desirable to objectively demonstrate claimed skills. But considering the distinctions between different sounds can be very slight, the ability to organize and remember those differences can be daunting. It certainly is for me.

Regarding innate, I take this to mean the built in ability, which can only be compared between listeners when each has optimized that ability through what Kal identifies as learning and attention. Even walking requires practice, which is why you can't compare innate abilities of a toddler and a teenager. Its less obvious with listeners, where much of their ability is based on invisible skill development. I reckon that, in practice, its a combination of innate and developed ability that explains the varying discrimination between listeners.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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Regarding innate, I take this to mean the built in ability, which can only be compared between listeners when each has optimized that ability through what Kal identifies as learning and attention. Even walking requires practice, which is why you can't compare innate abilities of a toddler and a teenager.

I know quite a few methods of learning in the creative arts that are primarily based on unlearning most of what you have been taught from the time you were a toddler to the time you reach adulthood. Admittedly, a good number of those learned abilities pay off in a societal grouping. Unfortunately, what we also learn is not to trust our innate abilities when they tell us something considered "undesireable" in modern society.

One of the founding fathers of MAD magazine passed away this year. His eulogies were replete with comments concerning his ability to never loose sight of the joy to be found by staying in touch with his inner child. In truth he never had to learn how to get in touch with that part of his personality, he just never gave into learning how to block it out.

The number of children who display nontraditional perceptive skills drops off drastically as they reach their late teens due largely to the implicit knowledge they are supposed to act "grown up" and extrasensory perceptions are largely frowned upon as grown up behavior in our society. Not so in others where such a child is respected for their abilities and those abilities are actually nurtured and allowed to develop.

People learn that being logical and rational at all times is perceived by our society as desireable and they discount those things that do not fit into the mold of logical and rational. Some to the extreme of never finding that inner child's openness to new experiences ever again. They forget how to play and allow total freedom to their thoughts and actions. This is the basis for the school of primitive art and why so many who view such works dismiss them as something "My kid could do". Which is true, a child could make a decent attempt at primitive art but most adults cannot. To do primitve art or compose nontraditional works or to sing or act without fear of being criticized requires unlearning virtually everything you have been taught not to do in polite society.

IMO this is where much of the innate abilities we all possess come either to our aid or our detriment.

That would make the thread's question include, how much of our innate abilites do we intentionally suppress in order to fulfill what we see as our role in society? I would say quite a bit in many cases as evidenced here by the large numbers of posters who dismiss something without personal experience simply because they see the change as being something illogical or something they cannot explain. When faced with a dilema of something irrational that still proves to be real, we must make a choice. That choice is often the "grown up" choice of dimissing it as not real despite what our innate abilites might otherwise disprove.

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


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Kal - is it not possible that hearing deficiencies might be part of malfunctioning "equipment"?
For example, we know that folks lose the ability to hear high frequencies as they age. Perhaps individuals have frequency response gaps, say because the cilia are missing or not working well.
I can imagine that deficiencies in the ability to hear and distinguish overtones would limit the ability to discriminate between similar sounds.

Not likely. That's an easy thing to test for and eliminate from the issue.

Kal

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Then do you see an analogy between how the NCS processes hearing and the "hypersensitivity" of those who have other senses - smell or taste - sharpened to the point of being "highly regarded" in certain areas?

Possibly.

Kal

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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Calm down, Kal.

trevort
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?

Here is an article that presumes normal hearing, but assert differing abilities to understand music, although it doesn't venture to the causes of differing abilities
http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=12795510

"About 4% of the population has

Jan Vigne
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Re: "Color blind" hearing?


Quote:
The other level is that of understanding. Perhaps some folks can hear the sounds but do not make sense of them. They fail to be moved by what they hear, or to make the human connection to what is being expressed in the music. Thus they are considered to have amusia. In this case, the condition is perhaps less like colour blindness, but more like lacking an appreciation for visual art.

Yes, the "I can't describe what pornography is, but I'll know it when I see it" crowd. This would commonly be a matter of lack of exposure or negligence in learning however and not innate abilities IMO. Small towns in the middle of nowhere spawn artists of great sensitivity and big cities have their collection of those who do not "get" Jackson Pollack fifty years on.

And we must realize that many musicians do not hear what audiophiles praise as high quality or even desirable qualities. I have sold to many musicians and a few professional conductors who had what I considered to be attrocious systems - a Pioneer rack system with the speakers about 20' apart in the diagonal corners or a pair of Bose 501's because they fit beside the fireplace - but they were quite happy with what they heard and both were skilled and talented musicians and conductors. Some people reduce what they hear to frequency response and others focus on the basic attributes of emotional connection or even just something as simple as, "That speaker sounds the clearest".


Quote:
First is the inability to hear subtle differences in sound, which would lessen the impact of music.

So this would be an innate ability? This would make those listeners "levelers" and not "sharpeners"? And what do you suppose is the cause for such a choice? Is it innate and will never be changed or is it inattention to the facilities they do possess?

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