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4. Hearing and Language: Hacks 44–52

Chapter 4. Hearing and Language: Hacks 44–52

Your ears are not simply “eyes for sound.” Sound contains quite different information about the world than does light. Light tends to be ongoing, whereas sound occurs when things change: when they vibrate, collide, move, break, explode! Audition is the sense of events rather than scenes. The auditory system thus processes auditory information quite differently from how the visual system processes visual information: whereas the dominant role of sight is telling where things are, the dominant role of hearing is telling when things happen [Detect Timing with Your Ears].

Hearing is the first sense we develop in the womb. The regions of the brain that deal with hearing are the first to finish the developmental process called myelination, in which the connecting “wires” of neurons are finished off with fatty sheaths that insulate the neurons, speeding up their electrical signals. In contrast, the visual system doesn’t complete this last step of myelination until a few months after birth.


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