Seeing with sound

Suitable for:
brain researchers,
general public

Seeing with sound

2nd December 2015



Bats and dolphins detect objects in their environment by emitting bursts of sound and listening to the echoes that bounce back. Some people who are blind can echolocate, too, using echoes from clicks made with their mouth and tongue to sense their surroundings.

Some are so adept at echolation, they can use it to navigate through unfamiliar buildings, even mountain bike, and play basketball. Some train other blind people to echolate.

In this talk, Professor Mel Goodale of The Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario in Canada will talk about several of these echolocators.

Testing in the Goodale laboratory has found that echolocation experts can sense remarkably small differences in the location of obstacles. They can also perceive the size and shape of objects, and even their material properties.

Brain imaging has shown that the echoes activate brain regions that would normally support vision in the brain of a person with sight. Meanwhile, brain areas that process auditory information are not particularly interested in these faint echoes.

Seeing with sound promises to shed new light on just how plastic the human brain really is.

Speaker: Professor Mel Goodale

Mel Goodale is a Distinguished University Professor and Director of The Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. His early work demonstrated that vision-for-perception and vision-for-action are functionally independent, laying the foundation for the ‘duplex’ account of high-level vision. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of London.

This is the inaugural public lecture of the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences.

When: Wednesday, 2 December 2015 from 5:30-6:30PM

Where: Lecture theatre South 1, 43 Rainforest Walk, Monash University Clayton VIC 3800