- The term auditory illusion is used in a general sense to denote a misrepresentation or misinterpretation of auditory stimuli. Some common examples are words that are misunderstood, "figments, and nonverbal sounds such as the humming of a ventilator misinterpreted as music. In a more specific sense, the term auditory illusion is used by the Canadian neuroscientists Wilder Graves Penfield (1891-1976) and Sean Francis Mullan (b. 1925) to denote a sound that seems louder or softer, fainter or more distinct, nearer or farther. As used by Penfield and Mullan, auditory illusions are classified as "psychical illusions, which are in turn classified as "psychical states (i.e. as "aurae occurring in the wake of an epileptic seizure or during a cortical probing experiment). In this specific context, the term auditory illusion is used in opposition to the terms " visual illusion, "illusion of recognition, "illusional emotion, and a nameless remaining group containing relatively rare phenomena such as illusions of increased awareness, illusions of alteration in the speed of movement, and visuo-vestibular disturbances. Pathophysiologically, Penfield and Mul-lan relate auditory illusions to aberrant neuronal discharges in the temporal lobe. However, theoretically auditory illusions can probably be mediated by any part of the auditory pathways, primary auditory cortex, associative cortex, and lim-bic system. Two special types of auditory illusion are the " musical illusion and the " Doppler effect.ReferencesMullan, S., Penfield, W. (1959). Illusion of comparative interpretation and emotion. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 81, 269-284.Blom, J.D., Sommer, I.E.C. (2009). Auditory hallucinations. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology (in press).
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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