[CaBSSem] Cognition and Brain Sciences Seminar: Fri Oct 6 @12pm, Chaz Firestone

Jordana Wynn jordwynn at uvic.ca
Mon Oct 2 09:48:43 PDT 2023


The Cognition and Brain Science Seminar (CaBSSem) next meets at a special time, this Friday, Oct 6 at 12:00 pm on zoom featuring Dr. Chaz Firestone (Johns Hopkins) speaking on "The Perception of Silence" (abstract below).

The session will be live-streamed at:

https://uvic.zoom.us/j/81257812980?pwd=VndFY3hueDA2cWl0SXljK0ZSYVhxdz09

For students/faculty at UVic, best practice is to launch the Zoom app and then click "Sign in with SSO" so that you access the call from the UVic Zoom.

Schedule at https://www.wynnlab.org/cabssem

Hope to see you Friday!

The Perception of Silence

What do we hear? An intuitive and canonical answer is that we hear sounds — a friend’s voice, a clap of thunder, a minor chord. But can we also perceive the absence of sound? When we pause for a moment of silence, attend to the interval between thunderclaps, or sit with a piece of music that has ended, do we positively hear silence? Or do we simply fail to hear, and only know or judge that silence has occurred? Philosophical accounts of audition have long held that our encounter with silence is cognitive, not perceptual, hewing to a traditional view that we can only perceive 'positivities', and not 'negative' objects like silences and other absences. Yet, silence perception has not been subject to direct empirical investigation. Here, I introduce an empirical approach to the hypothesis that silence is genuinely perceived. Across multiple case studies, I'll show (both through experimental data and subjectively appreciable demonstrations) that silences can 'substitute' for sounds in illusions of auditory eventhood -- and thus that silences can serve as the objects of auditory perception. This work also paves the way for empirical approaches to absence perception more generally, with consequences for broader questions about the objects of perception, representations of negative properties, and other foundational issues at the intersection of the philosophy and psychology of perception.




Jordana Wynn, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Victoria

Pronouns: She/ Her

I acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.
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