Re: Innate responses to sound (Brian Gygi )

Subject: Re: Innate responses to sound
From:    Brian Gygi  <bgygi@xxxxxxxx>
Date:    Wed, 21 May 2008 23:45:14 +0000

Hi Ross, I don't know how you could determine if a response to a sound was innate or not, short of locking up an infant in a sonically impoverished environment. You could certainly look at the auditory developmental literature and there are some sounds that infants seem to respond to more than others, but you don't necessarily know what they are responding to. In the case of nails across the blackboard (assuming there would be a response) would it be the similarity to some kind of primal call or just the extreme amount of high-frequency energy? Also, by the time children are born they have already been exposed to quite a range of sounds in the environment, albeit low-pass filtered through the amniotic fluid, so quite a bit of learning has already taken place. The problem with any sort of evolutionary explanations for behavior is that they are inherently unfalsifiable (although they can be fun). Brian Gygi, Ph.D. Speech and Hearing Research Veterans Affairs Martinez Clinic Martinez, CA -----Original Message----- From: Ross Rochford [mailto:digiology@xxxxxxxx Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 04:03 PM To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxx Subject: Innate responses to sound Hi, I am considering for my thesis an exploration of innate responses to sounds, that is, unlearned and presumably having evolved to serve some function. The idea of the evolutionary lag where we have evolved to adapt to an environment that existed thousands of years ago interests me, I wonder what the implications of this are for how we respond to sound and how music affects our mood. I am looking for papers (or books) on responses to sound that are likely to be innate in humans. Also papers that discuss the evolutionary origins of our responses to sound and music and how our past environment (and tasks therein, e.g. hunting) have shaped them. I am hoping for the kinds of explanations that have been proposed for arachnophobia, that a fear of spiders had survival advantage as we may have evolved among poisonous spiders. While researching, I found a suggestion that our response to nails on a blackboard is because of the similarity (of its spectrum) to the warning call of macaque monkeys. Although I don't believe this is an adequate explanation (the warning calls don't produce the same response as nails on a blackboard in humans), it is similar to what I am looking for. Any suggestions on where to start are greatly appreciated. Ross

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