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Questions about response times to auditory/visual stimuli

Michael Edelman mje at mich.com
Thu Feb 11 15:57:50 EST 1999

Didier A. Depireux wrote:

> ...What you mention has nothing to do with the long latency of retinal cells.
> In the retina, light is transduced into electrical activity by first a
> gradual polarization that sets up a reaction involving a second messenger
> system. You therefore have tens of msecs between light activation and the
> generation of an action potential. In the auditory system, the inner hair
> cells are active receptors:  a depolarization of the inner hair cells
> (caused by the cilia bending) also starts up the transduction process. But
> in part because of active processes, and other things I don't want to get
> into, the latency for an action potential in the auditory nerve is much
> lower, just a couple of msecs.
> But don't take my word for it, look up Kandel and Schwartz. For latencies
> in the cochlea and AN, look up 'The Cochlea', edited by Dallos, Popper and
> Fay. It's about 500 pages long, though.

I have both in my basement, left over from my grad school days ;-) But I'm from the auditory
mafia, so I'll admit to not being entirely up to date on vision.

I thought you were talking about total reaction times; are you just talking about
transduction times?

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