Letter | Published:

The Mechanism of the Cochlea

Nature volume 110, page 633 (11 November 1922) | Download Citation



THE description of Dr. Wilkinson's model of the cochlea in NATURE (October 21, p. 559) recalls Dr. Yoshii's experiments on guinea-pigs. Yoshii operated with long-sustained notes from whistles of different pitches, and concluded from the resulting lesions in the organ of Corti that the pitch of the note determines the region of maximal displacement of the basilar membrane. But as he used the same pressure to blow the different whistles (Zeitschr. f. Ohrenheilkunde, 58, 1909, P. 205), the product a2n2 had a constant value, i.e. the greater the frequency of the note employed, the less the amplitude of its vibrations, which shows at once that Yoshii's results do not support his conclusions. If Dr. Wilkinson's model of the cochlea is a good one, it will show that the locus of maximal vibration in the basilar membrane for a given note shifts toward the distal end when the intensity of that note is increased, and toward the fenestral end when its intensity is diminished; and will thus demonstrate once again that the principle of resonance can find no application in the internal ear.

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  1. University of London, University College, Gower Street, W.C.1, October 26.

    • W. PERRETT


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