Episode 11: Dr. Joshua Gold

Play Episode 11: Dr. Joshua Gold

Professor of Neuroscience at The University of Pennsylvania

Co-Director of the Computational Neuroscience Initiative

2 thoughts on “Episode 11: Dr. Joshua Gold

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  1. Dr. Gold,
    I once heard from a reliable source that you were so startled to find your owl you were experimenting with at the Stanford lab was sleeping his/her head (neck) turned around completely when you had entered the lab one night.How can an owl do that? Does he/she have special sensing requirements that receive sound or light around 360 degrees in the environ? After I listened your very good and interesting interview, I came up with more questions. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the question! Yes, an owl’s neck is amazingly flexible and can let them twist their heads in ways that look crazy to us. But their most interesting specialization, in my opinion, is that their ears are actually asymmetric — one points up quite a bit more than the other. This is what allows them to localize sound sources not just horizontally (which depends on the horizontal separation of the ears in the head), but also vertically (which depends on this asymmetry — if the ears were symmetric, like ours, then sounds coming from sources at different heights would arrive at the ears at the same time and with the same loudness, making them difficult to localize along that dimension). That, combined with their ability to move their head around, allows them to sense sounds throughout space.

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