Science Forum Series - Dr. Daniel Blumstein
A Journey from Marmots in the Mountains to Hollywood
What makes certain sounds scary? Dr. Blumstein will describe insights gained from over three decades of studying alarm calls and fear screams in marmots (which are large, mostly-alpine, ground squirrels) throughout the northern hemisphere. Fear screams are remarkably similar across taxa and they seem to be particularly evocative to many species. Dr. Blumstein's studies of non-humans suggest that it is the noise and non-linearities in them that is what evokes negative emotions and heighted responses in those hearing them. He formalize this in ‘the non-linearity and fear hypothesis’ and discuss tests of the hypothesis in studies of marmots, birds, film soundtracks, and humans. The sound of fear is non-linear.
Dr. Daniel Blumstein is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA.