Auditory system

The course keeps moving on, and this week we learned about the auditory and the vestibular system. Personally, I missed the lecture, so I read the chapter in the book. The title is because I mostly skipped the parts about the vestibular system, sorry. 😛

I found the part about sound localization particularly interesting. Somehow I thought, that interaural time delay was all that was needed for proper sound localization. Obviously, I had not thought very hard about it. So, reading about how interaural intensity difference caused by the sound shadow created by the head is used to help detect horizontal location was slightly mindblowing. Additionally, the way that the time difference is (possibly?) encoded in neural spikes was, although a little difficult to follow, also fascinating.

And finally, I learned about why the human outer ear is so strangely shaped, and it apparently has to do with localizing sounds from vertical directions. That is, the shape of the ear apparently reflects sound from different vertical directions so that it allows the auditory system to localize the sound. Everything makes much more sense now. Lastly, I will always remember the fact that owls localize vertical sounds better because their ears are at different heights on their head, allowing them to use the same techniques we use for horizontal sound localization.

Posted by Teemu

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