The Universal Sense How Hearing Shapes the Mind

Seth S. Horowitz

Bloomsbury USA

1608190900

9781608190904

Hardcover

320 Pages

CAD34.00

$25.00

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Every day, we are beset by millions of sounds-ambient ones like the rumble of the train and the hum of air conditioner, as well as more pronounced sounds, such as human speech, music, and sirens. But how do we process what we hear every day? This book answers such revealing questions as:
—Why do we often fall asleep on train rides or in the car, and what does it have to do with hearing?—What is it about the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard that makes us cringe?—Why do city folks have trouble sleeping in the country, and vice versa?—Why can't you get that jingle out of your head?

Starting with the basics of the biology, neuroscientist and musician Seth Horowitz explains how sound affects us, and in turn, how we've learned to manipulate sound: into music, commercial jingles, car horns, and modern inventions like cochlear implants, ultrasound scans, and the mosquito ringtone. Combining the best parts of This is Your Brain on Music and How We Decide, this book gives new insight into what the sounds of our world have to do with the way we think, feel, and interact.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Universal Sense

"I want to stand on a hill and shout 'Read this book' so it bounces off a dense, flat, acoustically reflective surface and echoes through the land. Sound is a surreal, secret, madly fascinating universe going on around us all the time. Herrings in the sea are speaking to one another by farting. Bats are screeching at subway-loud levels right over our heads. Military operatives are blasting Guns n' Roses at enemy generals. Horowitz's expertise, enthusiasm. and wit make him the perfect ambassador. A must-read for people with ears."—Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars

"Now hear this! The Universal Sense is a wonderful book. Beautiful prose. Clear exposition. Fascinating topic. Your ideas about sound and silence will forever be changed."—Joseph Ledoux, author of The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self

"Reading The Universal Sense, I found myself pricking my ears, suddenly aware as never before of the acoustic waves washing over me every moment of the day. Seth Horowitz brings his deep knowledge and graceful style to a dimension of life we often take for granted, covering an impressive range of sound-related subjects, from farting herrings to video game technology."—Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex and Evolution: Making Sense of Life

"For anyone who has pondered the impact of heavy metal on the mind, sonic cannons on the enemy, or 'brown noise' on the bowels, here is a feast: the first authoritative, scientific look at humans' relationship to sound. Seth Horowitz is as engaging as he is knowledgeable, and he brings the fruits of his own research and results to general audiences for the first time. So listen up."—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Seth S. Horowitz

  • Seth S. Horowitz, Ph.D. is an assistant research professor in the departments of neuroscience and psychology at Brown University. He is the co-founder of NeuroPop, the first sound design and consulting firm to use neurosensory and psychophysical algorithms in music, sound design, and sonic branding. He is married to sound artist China Blue and lives in Warwick, RI.

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