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Past Event

Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World

Making sense of sound is one of the hardest jobs our brains must do. Our hearing is always on. We can't close our ears the way we close our eyes. And yet we are quite adept at ignoring sounds that are unimportant. Nina Kraus explores what is going on in our brains when we hear a word, a chord, a meow, or a screech, and examines the partnership of sound and brain, showing how the processing of sound drives many of the brain's core functions. Our hearing brain interacts with what we know, with our emotions, with how we think, with our movements, and with all our other senses. Auditory neurons make calculations at one-thousandth of a second. Hearing is the fastest of our senses.

Sound also plays an unrecognized role in both healthy and hurting brains. Kraus explores the power of music for healing as well as the destructive power of noise on the nervous system. She traces what happens in the brain when we speak another language, have a language disorder, experience rhythm, listen to birdsong, or suffer a concussion.

Join us as Kraus explores how our deep engagement with sound leaves a fundamental imprint on who we are.


MLF: Humanities

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This is an online-only program; please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Copies of Of Sound Mind are available for purchase at checkout (U.S. domestic shipping only).

Author photo by Justin Barber.

October 7, 2021

United States

Image - Nina Kraus

Nina Kraus

Hugh Knowles Professor of Neurobiology, Communication Sciences, and Otolaryngology, Northwestern University; Author, Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World

Image - George Hammond

In Conversation with George Hammond

Author, Conversations With Socrates