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[Virtual] Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World

January 23 @ 10:30 AM 12:00 PM

Nina Kraus, Ph.D., Professor of Neurobiology and Otolaryngology at Northwestern University, will speak on the topic of her book, Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World.  Hearing a cry or a word or a bird call or a chord brings forth different, specific reactions in each of our brains. How we engage with those sounds, tuning them up or down, and in or out, is a lifelong process that changes the brain along the way. The brain and sound each inform the other from the moment we are born through old age. In this discourse, Kraus uses her 30 years’ experience studying the interplay of the brain and sound to show for the first time that the processing of sound drives many of the brain’s core functions.

Nina Kraus is a scientist, inventor, and amateur musician who uses hearing as a window into brain health.  She began her career measuring responses from single auditory neurons and was one of the first to show the adult nervous system has the potential for reorganization with learning.  Through a series of innovative studies involving thousands of research participants from birth to age 90, her research has found that our lives in sound, and our experiences, for better (musicians, bilinguals) and for worse (concussion, language disorders, aging), shape how our brain makes sense of the sounds we hear.  She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern.

Two interesting websites related to Dr. Kraus’s work are:

https://brainvolts.northwestern.edu/

mitpress.mit.edu/books/sound-mind

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