A comparative view of the brain, comparing related functions across species and sensory systems, offers a number of advantages. In particular, it allows separation of the formal purpose of a model structure from its implementation in specific brains. Models of auditory cortical processing can be conceived by analogy to the visual cortex, incorporating neural mechanisms that are found in both the visual and auditory systems. Examples of such canonical features at the columnar level are direction selectivity, size/bandwidth selectivity, and receptive fields with segregated vs. overlapping ON and OFF subregions. On a larger scale, parallel processing pathways have been envisioned that represent the two main facets of sensory perception: (i) identification of objects; and (ii) processing of space. Expanding this model in terms of sensorimotor integration and control offers an overarching view of cortical function independently of sensory modality.