Welcome to the Auditory Binding Experiment

First Person Researchers Wanted

You are invited to explore a newly discovered phenomenon of mind-brain interaction which happens during the transition of awakening from sleep into awareness. As the auditory system 'binds' to consciousness (Auditory Binding) a distinctive sound may be heard if conditions are right. It is subtle but reproducible and eventually unmistakable. If you would like to learn how to experience it yourself, please participate in this research project. You'll essentially be both co-investigator and test subject in an experiment of self-discovery.

If you do discover within yourself something surprising that is entirely new and unexpected, I hope that you find it to be an interesting and worthwhile experience.

Karl Simanonok, Ph.D
Principal Investigator

Introduction

When waking consciousness transitions into sleep, external sensory inputs and awareness fade away until dreaming occurs, when some aspects of consciousness return and internally generated (pseudo) sensory inputs commonly predominate. Pseudo-sensory experiences presented to dream-awareness (flying dreams, for example) clearly differ in their source from the sensory inputs attended to while awake. Or at least we hope so.

It is a great mystery how and where the various aspects of consciousness bind to one another and to brain mechanisms. The binding (where "binding" in this context means "to cause to cohere or stick together") must be a dynamic process, because waking consciousness cycles on and off daily throughout life. Cycling off, sensory inputs to awareness seem to become disconnected from our externally-oriented sensorium as it converts to an internally-oriented sensorium and sleep begins. Later there is a coupling of internally generated pseudo-sensory signals to dream-awareness. Vision, hearing, touch, balance, probably all the senses undergo this external disconnection and recoupling to internal sources. Upon waking, the reverse occurs: the internal sensorium is lost and external sensory inputs take over. It appears that waking consciousness binds anew each day.

Hypothesis

During every transition from sleep to waking consciousness, there must occur a reconnection or switching on of sensory inputs during the initial binding. It is hypothesized that the engagement of the auditory system with waking consciousness as binding occurs may be detectable by consciousness at or near the moment of its arousal. Under certain circumstances a dim and fleeting but yet distinct perception of sound may be detected in that moment of auditory binding (AB).

Purpose

The purpose of this experiment is to corroborate a perception of sound during waking from sleep and test a hypothesis about its cause. If a significant number of experimenters are able to describe the characteristic sound of AB accurately without knowing beforehand what to expect, confidence will be gained in its validity and reproducibility. If AB proves testable, it may become a useful tool for investigating mechanisms of binding: the coupling of the physical brain with the various aspects of the (so far intangible) awake consciousness.