Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Researches on acoustic space. 7 x 
parts of the tympanum are affected according as the direction of the 
sound is different.1 
The first assumption is in all probability justified ; the tympanum is un¬ 
doubtedly sensitive and the stimuli applied to different portions can be 
presumably distinguished. 
The second assumption is not so readily to be accepted in view of the 
fact that the energy of the air-vibrations is extremely small, in fact so 
small that a most complicated apparatus, the internal ear, has been spec¬ 
ially adapted to transform the air-vibrations into nerve-currents. There 
is no conclusive experimental evidence to support the view that sound¬ 
waves can be directly felt by the end organs or the nerves of touch. In 
the perception of sounds the tympanum is not the true receptive organ, 
but only a part of a mechanical device by which the vibrations are 
gathered and conveyed to the internal ear.2 
The third assumption is quite untenable. The diameter of the audi¬ 
tory canal is too small to permit of different degrees of pressure at differ¬ 
ent points of the tympanum at the same moment ; we can without hesita¬ 
tion consider the pressure as equal over all parts of the tympanum.3 
A second form of this theory to the effect that the touch organs of the 
tympanic membranes in the two ears are affected differently by sounds 
coming from different directions would be consistent with observations of 
cases in which the ability to localize sounds was lost, together with the 
sensitiveness of the tympanum.4 In spi — of some minor observations 
that may be interpreted in favor of this theory it is difficult to agree with 
Wundt5 6 in accepting it even partially ; at any rate such an extremely re¬ 
markable sensitiveness of the tympanum should be most thoroughly es¬ 
tablished before a final decision could be given in favor of it. 
3. Theory of a special space organ. 
According to Preyer the semicircular canals are the organs for the per¬ 
ception of the direction of a sound.0 By means of a specific energy of the 
1 Küpper, Ueber die Bedeutung der Ohrmuschel des Menschen, Archiv f. Ohrenheilk., 
1874 n. F. II (3) 158. 
«Thompson, On the function of two ears in the perception of space, Phil. Mag., 1882 
(5) XIII 406. 
« Helmholtz, Die Mechanik der Gehörknöchelchen und des Trommelfells, Archiv, f. 
<1. ges. Physiol. (Pflüger), 1868 I I. 
4Gei.i.É, Rôle de la sensibilité du tympan dans l'orientation au bruit, Soc. de Biol., 
1886 III 448. 
5Wundt, Physiol. Psychol., II 94, Leipzig, 1S93. 
6 Preyer, Die Wahrnehmung der Schallrichtung mittelst der Bogengänge, Archiv, f. 
d. ges. Physiol. (Pflüger), 1S87 XI, 5S6.


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