Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Human Auditory System: Audiences hate modern classical music because their brains can not cope

I guess there is a scientific reason "modern" classical music sounds so awful to my ear after all!  The Daily Telegraph (center-right newspaper, UK) has the story.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Human Visual System: Caucasians and Asians recognize faces and expressions differently

World Science (an online science news site) summarizes work by researchers at the University of Montreal (Canada) into how Asians and Caucasians differ in recognizing faces and facial expressions.  Eye tracking cameras were used to monitor where the subjects were gazing.  Doctoral candidate and researcher Caroline Blais said that
The study confirmed that Caucasians study the triangle of the eyes and mouth, while Asians focus on the nose..
 In a separate study, she also tested how recognition of facial expressions differed between the two ethnic groups. It turned out that Asians were not as accurate at recognizing emotions that required observing the mouth, such as fear, disgust, and anger.

The two studies were published in the journals Current Biology and PLoS One.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Acoustics: Visualizing whale calls as art

NewScientist (science magazine, UK) has a fascinating set of images from Mark Fischer, who uses artistically manipulated wavelet transforms of the calls of marine mammals to create stunning artwork.