The disparate histories of binocular vision and binaural hearing

Nicholas J. Wade (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
486 Downloads (Pure)


Vision and hearing are dependent on disparities of spatial patterns received by two eyes and on time and intensity differences to two ears. However, the experiences of a single world have masked attention to these disparities. While eyes and ears are paired, there has not been parity in the attention directed to their functioning. Phenomena involving binocular vision were commented upon since antiquity whereas those about binaural hearing are much more recent. This history is compared with respect to the experimental manipulations of dichoptic and dichotic stimuli and the instruments used to stimulate the paired organs. Binocular color mixing led to studies of binaural hearing and direction and distance in visual localization were analyzed before those for auditory localization. Experimental investigations began in the nineteenth century with the invention of instruments like the stereoscope and pseudoscope, soon to be followed by their binaural equivalents, the stethophone and pseudophone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-35
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
Issue number1
Early online date2 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Binaural hearing
  • binocular and binaural instruments
  • binocular vision
  • dichoptic
  • dichotic
  • spatial localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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