Some of my reading lately

There are so many areas and disciplines that could feed into my discussions of cuing an audience into subjectivity, world-view (or sensory world-experience) and hearing with another person’s point of audition, that it’s hard to know where to focus.

I have read articles (for example!) on:

  • How playing a single frequency to young rats enlarges the area of the auditory cortex associated with that frequency, making the rat less sensitive to that one, but more sensitive to neighbouring frequencies.
  • An analysis of the use of sound to create identification with characters in the animated film Ratatouille.
  • A write up of a series of tests to probe how autistic adolescents process sound as compared to peers with more typical neurology.
  • A fascinating analysis of why discipline broke down during a traditional ceremonial officers’ dinner in a British Army corps soon after a stressful tour of duty in Afghanistan.
  • An article putting forth some interesting theories about gender in the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet.

All of this is relevant.  Lets take them one by one.

The Baby Rats! (Han et al, 2007)

The evidence that exposure to a specific noise can alter cortical sensory neurons in early life raises all sorts of interesting speculation for me.

If a child grows up in a noisy, environment (for example, if the telly is on constantly, or the family habitually speaks loudly or aggressively) and if, like the rats, the neurons arrange themselves so that the child hears less of that kind of sound, how does that affect future responses to environment and where they may choose to be (where they settle, where they ‘hang out’, etc).

It seems to me it would have an impact on how they conduct interactions or even how, and with whom, they form relationships?

And could this be reflected in a film by making an audience accustomed to a background noise and then abruptly losing it as we switch?


HAN, Y.K., KöVER, H., INSANALLY, M.N., SEMERDJIAN, J.H., BAO, S. (2007) Early experience impairs perceptual discrimination. Nat Neurosci 10, 1191–1197. doi:10.1038/nn1941

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