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Co-creator of the MP3 talks about why we hear what we hear


In skeptical circles especially, it is well known that eyewitness (or earwitness, to coin a word) observations of certain events are quite often fatally flawed.

On Sunday the 29th of April at the Banshee Labirynthe, James Johnstone, former Chief Scientist at DTS inc., and co-inventor of the MP3 is talking about ‘why we hear what we hear’. In this talk, the operation of the auditory system will be discussed, along with the ways that deliberate, inadvertent, and random situations can radically change what you perceive. If there is time, some of the operation of the visual system will also be mentioned, as it is also subject to the same effects, confusions, and effects of data reduction along the way to conscious thought. 

This will (hopefully) go some way in explaining why people hear ghosts, and other potentially supernatural occurences! The talk is at 7.30pm in the Banshee Labirynthe on Niddry Street, full information can be found here. 

Earlier in the day new members are very welcome to join our regular ‘Skeptical Day Out’ a family-friendly social event from 1.30pm Gorgie City Farm.

This April’s Day Out is to Gorgie City Farm; there will be Skeptics in the Cafe there from 1:00 (look out for a group of people with an inflatable seagull).  We’ll go round the farm itself at 2:00.It’s spring, so there are lambs, ducklings and lots of young creatures. 

And a curly haired pig.

If you would like to find out about upcoming events including Edinburgh Fringe events during "Skeptics on the Fringe", you can join the mailing list at

Alex Shedlock


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