April 28, 2009

Wimps hear dangerous noises differently

Posted: 12:26 AM ET

Scrawnier people are more likely to perceive an approaching sound as closer than it actually is. This connection between physical fitness and the brain's auditory system may have evolved to help the weak get out of the way of approaching danger.

That's the latest finding of evolutionary psychologist John Neuhoff and colleagues at The College of Wooster in Ohio, who study "looming" sounds. Participants in their study listened to a tone moving toward them and pressed a button when they thought the sound had arrived directly in front of them. Nearly everyone pushed the button too early, which Neuhoff interprets as an adaptation that helps human beings to anticipate and avoid danger.

The team also tested the fitness levels of the listeners and found that those better equipped to handle danger allowed the sound get closer. Individuals with greater upper body strength and/or stronger cardiovascular systems waited longer to push the button, while subjects in poorer physical shape gave themselves a greater "margin of safety."

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American Institute of Physics

Filed under: Larry King Live

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Dave of Detroit   April 28th, 2009 12:39 am ET

I will add this to my collection of strange info along with the outstanding research that led to the conclusion that kids are obese from lack of self control. I am hopeful that after President Obama's speech on the Sciences that we have a more in depth and original experimental conclusions. As far as Fight or Flee, it reminds me of the two hikers that ran into a group of bears that appeared to dislike their interruption. One Hiker immediately took off his hiking boots and put on his tennis shoes. His friend told him that you can't outrun a bear, The reply was that all I have to do is outrun you....My hope is that the big upper torso guys wait as long as they want while I get my puny little self down the road!

Jim Miller   April 28th, 2009 9:10 pm ET

Hi Larry-
My 2 adult children were in Buenos Aires for the last 6 months. They both contracted a virulent "flu" back in Nov 08. I wonder if this Mexican "swine" flu has been around central and south america for months but now it is in the spotlite??? Is there any way to evaluate this?

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