Re: Sensory modalities and the possibility of semi-arbitrary additions

From: James MacAulay (
Date: Fri Nov 04 2005 - 23:18:42 MST

On 4-Nov-05, at 6:12 PM, Phil Goetz wrote:
> I don't think you'd want to give up a sense - just reduce its
> resolution. Have less ability to discern smells, or colors, or
> sounds,
> for instance. Or have a less finely-discerning sense of touch on some
> part of your body. Or decrease the range. You could cut off audio
> above 20,000Hz without much loss.

I could give up audio above 20kHz without *any* loss; usually only
very young people can hear at frequencies quite that high anyway.
Most people over twenty years old don't have ranges that can go
higher than about 15kHz, AFAIK.

However, I think it would be worthwhile to ask whether or not any of
my cortical real estate is being "wasted" on those frequencies even
though my cochlea can't transmit them. I think that any neurons or
synapses that may have been specialized early in my life to respond
to such high frequencies would have eventually switched jobs or died
off altogether once my ears had stopped transmitting to them.

James MacAulay

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