Radboud Sounds - John van Opstal
Radboud Sounds - John van Opstal

Don’t believe your ears!

By combining tones you can create a tone that is not there at all! And there is a tone that seems to go up forever. How is that possible? By taking advantage of the way our ears receive and process sound, your ears can be tricked. The direction, the composition of tones and the volume of the sound play a role in this. But the shape of your auricle, your expectations and your age are also important. Neurophysicist John van Opstal explains how your ears work by showing why they sometimes don't work. Come watch and especially listen.

21.40 - 21.55 | Rode Zaal

Auditory illusions

You can generally trust your ears, but sometimes you can't. Like our other senses, they can be fooled. Everyone knows a few optical illusions: the spinning dancer that sometimes seems to turn in one direction and sometimes the other, the two lines that don't seem to be the same length but are, and the two colored squares that you'd swear aren't the same color. It is less known that there are also illusions that you do not see but hear. Come and find out why you shouldn't always believe your ears.

This Soundbite is in Dutch.

About the speaker

John van Opstal is professor of Neurophysics at Radboud University and director of the Donders Centre for Neuroscience at the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Informatics. His research focuses, among other things, on the normal auditory system, but he also looks at plasticity mechanisms in response to pathology. He and his research group also aim to understand the relationship between sensory stimuli and the resulting behavioral response, such as rapid gaze orientation.

Radboud Sounds

This program is part of Radboud Sounds. The festival where science meets music with lectures, dance, live music and more on Friday 12 May 2023 in Doornroosje, Nijmegen. Come and celebrate Radboud University’s 100th anniversary. Radboud University scientists from various disciplines shed their light on music and science. Come and listen, dance, enjoy and sharpen your mind on the effect of music. Compose your own program and see the world of music from a different viewpoint.

Contact information

Would you like to know more about the Radboud Sounds programme, or do you have other questions or comments? Please contact info [at] reflects.ru.nl (info[at]reflects[dot]ru[dot]nl)

Organizational unit
Radboud Reflects