|Originally posted by Ricky
The fact that you trust them has nothing to do with the fact that they may not be trustable, sorry. Is just that you like to think they are trustable, but it has nothing to do with if they are really trustable or not.
Seems that you all like to rely exclusively on your ear/brain combination. That's not very scientific. But then comes again the "no science, please, we're audiophiles" thing.
Placebo effect is not controllable, nobody can get rid of it just by thinking he can control it, nobody can say he's not prone to it. Placebo effect appears unconscioulsy too.
So, I keep shouting: placebo, placebo, and nothing more than placebo!!
The psychology of perception is a science too.
For you to shout placebo is as absurd as anything else you've written, if not more so. I don't write about electrical effects of cables, as I'm not an electrical engineer. I write about differences that I hear, as I am the world's top expert on what my particular set of ears is sensitive to.
However, I'm a psychologist who works in toxicology, and DO know a bit about placebo effects. You can shout it all you want, but what we're talking about isn't it. In a narrow sense, placebo effects come out of drug testing, where a drug with no pharmacological activity is used as a control against the test drug of interest. This is necessary, because some therapeutic effects, particularly of drugs that are psychoactive, may not be due to the drug at all, but due to the patient's a priori expectation of a drug to have a particular effect. Here's the kicker...in the absence of a priori expection, there is no such thing as a placebo. Further, if the effects of a placebo are not those that are expected by the patient, that's not a placebo either.
In a broader sense, you can consider two types of processing that are involved in the perception of any stimulus. One type is can be called "bottom-up" processing. That is what we go through looking at the effects of a stimulus from the sensory receptor through the nervous system to the brain. However, this is complemented by what we can call "top-down" processing, which is the effect of the brain on our perception of a stimulus. We do not perceive stimuli veridically, as there are a set of shortcuts which differentially affect perception. C n ou re d th s s nte ce? How, since there are no complete words? Your brain is filling in the blanks...as it does with non-verbal aspects of stimuli as well. This type of processing is not controllable. Your brain will do this to any sensory input. However, that does not mean that it cannot be recognized when it occurs.
However, not all of these sensory shortcuts are hardwired. Some are due to expectation...those very effects that really are placebo effects. These effects, unlike those that are built into sensory systems are not necessarily permanent. To put it simply, expectations change over time. Since they are the critical element in this type of effect, once expectations change, so does the perception. A good listener will use a variety of ways of listening to a cable, or any other component. Over time, some aspects of the perception of the stimulus will change, even in the same system, while others remain constant. The key is exposure to a variety of different configurations over time, while returning to the base configuration at intervals. Those sonic aspects in the base system that remain unchanged are not due to expectation. Those that were driven by expectation will be malleable. You don't have to control your expectations. They change naturally over time. That's one reason why a good reviewer listens for a long period of time before reaching conclusions.
Exposure to stimuli in a variety of situations produces learning, in particular perceptual discriminatory learning, which both alters expectations and increases the ability of the listener to detect subtle sonic changes. People aren't born with "golden ears", they are the result of a long period of training in perceptual discrimination. This phenomenon is real and has been extensively studied. It's not a result of conscious attempts to learn...it simply comes from exposure to a wide variety of audio stimuli, and trying to attend and quantify differences between components...such as you would experience in testing different components in your home before buying, or going to something like the Headroom shows, where a variety of different sonic stimuli are available in the same location. This is another reason why a good reviewer listens to equipment over time...the particular aspects of the audio stimulus of a particular piece of equipment may not be something that he is particularly sensitive to, despite years of experience. However, comparative listening with the component in question over time in different systems may produce the discriminatory learning necessary to hear critical aspects of the sound that component.
I'm not surprised that you don't hear cable differences. If you haven't had the necessary exposure, you simply aren't sensitive to them. The greater the variety of audio equipment you listen to, with high resolution, the greater the chances that you will learn to perceive the differences you are arguing against. Until you have undergone the requisite perceptual learning, you really are stuck with a "tin ear". This is not IMO. This is scientific fact.