Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Research Shows How Deaf Cats' Brains Re-Purpose Auditory Centers

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the heard-that dept.

Medicine 100

An anonymous reader writes "Deaf or blind people often report enhanced abilities in their remaining senses, but up until now, no one has explained how and why that could be. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario, led by Stephen Lomber of The Centre for Brain and Mind, have discovered there is a causal link between enhanced visual abilities and reorganization of the part of the brain that usually handles auditory input in congenitally deaf cats. The findings, published online in Nature Neuroscience, provide insight into the plasticity that may occur in the brains of deaf people."

cancel ×

100 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That's good news for deaf cats (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33863036)

Because getting a hearing aid to fit in a cat's ear would be rather difficult.

Re:That's good news for deaf cats (1)

antdude (79039) | about 4 years ago | (#33863620)

Would a bone conduction work? I, as an ant, wear one. :)

Re:That's good news for deaf cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33865102)

uhhhhhh, since when do ants have bones?

Re:That's good news for deaf cats (1)

lxs (131946) | about 4 years ago | (#33867532)

Ants wear their bones on the outside. Exoskeleton 4 lyfe fool!

Re:That's good news for deaf cats (1)

228e2 (934443) | about 4 years ago | (#33863982)

You're aware that these types of experiments most likely cant be done on humans right?

Re:That's good news for deaf cats (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33864454)

Not sure what that has to do with anything. Are you saying that because you're a socialist?

Ahh yes, (3, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 4 years ago | (#33863060)

The rare intersection of cats, disabilities, abilities, and jokes:

What has 9 arms, and ROCKS?

Re:Ahh yes, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863190)

If only they had studied Deaf Leopards... so much easier to make jokes.

Re:Ahh yes, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33864256)

Clock Spider (prior to his battle with Limecat).

Re:Ahh yes, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33866480)

The rare intersection of cats, disabilities, abilities, and jokes:

What has 9 arms, and ROCKS?

Deaf Leopard!

Re:Ahh yes, (1)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | about 4 years ago | (#33870092)

Actually, you mean Def Leppard.

that's not nice (1, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#33863062)

the plasticity that may occur in the brains of deaf people

Saying that deaf people have plastic brains is just plain rude! ;)

Re:that's not nice (4, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | about 4 years ago | (#33863128)

Everybody has very plastic brains. I know you meant it as a joke but brain damage usually gets routed around by the body even relocating whole centers to a different part of the brain. This research is just showing that just like brain damage, the body tries to route around the no-input problem from one organ and enhances others to compensate.

The brain is like a really small Internet. It routes around problems and has plenty of failover, fallbacks and backups for just about any 'site'.

Re:that's not nice (2, Funny)

cpscotti (1032676) | about 4 years ago | (#33863154)

Will the brain switch to IPv6?

Re: that's not nice (2, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | about 4 years ago | (#33863274)

And: how does the brain deal with trolls?

BTW, when I drink too much, I get terrible ping floods the next morning,

Re:that's not nice (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#33863276)

Yes, there's a lot of redundancy and plasticity, but it has its limits, and there are plenty of single points of failure. I speak from personal experience: a small ischemic stroke in the hippocampus took out my boyfriend's short-term memory, and despite plenty of healthy brain tissue in the neighborhood, his ability to form new memories was permanently shot.

Like in Memento (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33863662)

The article explains how some brain functions can be relocated to other parts of the brain. Some other functions, on the other hand, cannot:

a small ischemic stroke in the hippocampus took out my boyfriend's short-term memory, and despite plenty of healthy brain tissue in the neighborhood, his ability to form new memories was permanently shot.

Have you seen the film Memento? If so, does it accurately represent the condition?

Re:Like in Memento (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33864608)

50 First Dates would be...nicer.

Re:Like in Memento (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#33865960)

I have too much fondness for the memories I have of my time with my boyfriend, to risk having them overlaid with an Adam Sandler performance. So I can't comment on how accurately that film depicts the condition.

Re:Like in Memento (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33867144)

No too accurate for sure; it essentially depicts a nightly wipe of memories accumulated in each given day, with overall functioning not impaired too much.
Still, nicer than Memento setting/etc.

Re:Like in Memento (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#33865910)

The nature of any individual's disability after this kind of injury is going to vary a lot, so I'm not in a position to stand up and declare "it could never happen like that". But the character in Memento had a much better grasp of "what's going on right now" than Andy after his stroke. And the character's ability to assemble clues and reach conclusions from them also struck me as a rather bold exercise of dramatic license; Andy can barely carry on a conversation. For the film to work, you have to accept the premise that, despite his handicap, this one memory was traumatic enough to stick in his skull and motivate him to keep pursuing it. Which is possible, I suppose.

Although it wasn't clinically realistic, I think it was about as accurate a representation of the phenomenon as you could hope for in a film with a narrative storyline. It effectively conveyed the confusion that someone with anterograde amnesia would face in any novel situation. Except of course that most of us are able to put the pieces together and sort it out.

Brains may be plastic ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33863364)

... but will they blend?

The real question is - why is this unexpected? It's what I would have expected, and I'm not even deaf!

Re:that's not nice (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | about 4 years ago | (#33865420)

Here I am: can't see out of my left eye from birth; smartest person I know.

Re:that's not nice (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 4 years ago | (#33863214)

"Plastic" is derived from the Greek word meaning "to shape". So it's fine that brains have plasticity.

Re:that's not nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863534)

Woooosh?

My cat isn't deaf (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863078)

He just doesn't give a flying fuck about me unless he wants out, in, or food.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (2, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 4 years ago | (#33863138)

I don't think my cat uses hearing to detect an opened can of food. I did an experiment once where he was on the ground floor and at the opposite end. I carefully and quietly opened the can and *PifF* he teleported into the room, right by the bowl. I don't know how they do that.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863208)

Cats have much, much better hearing and smell than we do. Human hearing tops out around 20kHz, cats above 60kHz.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863414)

That's only a bit more than an octave more than we can hear.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33864674)

But doesn't tell where the high sensitivity regions lay - for us, in practice it sort of tops out at around 7 KHz. Now, without checking - cats certainly use their hearing to track rodents, are probably quite sensitive to their constant squeaks; of the type which we typically can't hear at all.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (4, Interesting)

FrostDust (1009075) | about 4 years ago | (#33863218)

That experiment would be more valid if you had different items.

Use a can of food he wouldn't eat, or something that's not even food, and then the cat food in a different container, like a Ziplock bag. Seperate the stimuli artifically, such as wafting cat-food scents at him, or an audio recording of a can opening.

Try to figure out which stimuli he's reacting to.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 4 years ago | (#33863530)

Use a can of food he wouldn't eat, or something that's not even food,

Bingo. My cat would come running everytime I used the can opener, regardless of what can.
Also, if I ran the stereo really loud in the room he was in, he would not react to the can opener in the kitchen.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863716)

In my house I know its the sound of the can opening - my 2 cats mobs me whenever I open soup cans, spaghettios, canned veggies, etc. Usually tab-pull cans just like their canned food. Sometimes when I have to use the hand-crank can opener I can get away with a whole 5 extra seconds before they maul me!

Re:My cat isn't deaf (5, Interesting)

shadowbearer (554144) | about 4 years ago | (#33864006)

  I did this experiment a few years ago on our three (now two) cats. It's definitely the sound of the can opener, they associate it with tuna cans; but I can open any other can and they come running.

  The interesting thing about it is that when my youngest cat was just a few months old, he did not associate the sound of the can with tuna treat - until he observed the other cats running for the kitchen, then he followed along and got a snack. It only took a couple of repetitions before he was responding the same way they did. So it's definitely a learned ability.

  Cats hearing is incredible. I can go outside and down to the mailbox (about 100 ft), open a can, and they'll be waiting for me at the door when I return, even if the windows are closed.

  Cats are extremely intelligent and besides making wonderful companions, are absolutely fascinating to observe. Our oldest, whom we lost about a year and a half ago, was a regular practical joker - he'd pull all sorts of funny stunts clearly designed just to get a laugh out of the humans - and if I pulled the camera out would go extremely photogenic - he clearly knew what it was for. He wasn't just begging for treats, either, we determined that early on - if we tried to give him a treat for his "trick" he'd sniff in a disdainful manner and walk away.

  He was nearly twenty when we lost him and I had the opportunity to watch him refining his "acts" over a decade and a half. My youngest tomcat, mentioned above, is following right along in his path - it does seem that toms, and particularly mixed breed toms, have a considerable amount more awareness than female or purebred cats.

  We miss that old tom a great deal. If one of us was depressed or tired he'd go to extremes to make us laugh, then come and look in our eyes for a while... he was unique in my experience of many cats.

SB

 

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33864906)

Hearing certainly, it's way too often that my cat appears to be noticing things which "aren't there" (if anything - behind at least one wall) - but don't you go too far with the rest? "Joker" - everybody involved reinforcing what's good & pleasurable to...everybody; likewise with camera, but a different behavior in different situation; coupled with long presence, full acceptance of the pack, etc.? IIRC cats have problems seeing depth (indeed any meaning) in 2D representations of images the way we do; certainly mine doesn't really appear to react. Maybe too stupid...or maybe just too young / with wrong background (lost 2 month old kitten starting to follow me in the night / apparently finding a new mother figure; recently, almost 1.5 years later, finally weaned off me, so to speak, and escaping for almost 2 weeks in the process; still, posting while she sleeps on my lap)

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

beav007 (746004) | about 4 years ago | (#33865250)

I don't get the whole "cats can't understand 2D" thing. Our cat would see birds on the TV, jump up on the cabinet and run behind the TV to get them. She had no issues with 2D image recognition.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33867214)

"Problems" doesn't mean "nothing" - but remember TV is a thing with some movement to track / change, a thing with sound; often a focal point for people when they are around (and again, they might influence it / there might be some Clever Hans Effect); isolating such factors would be difficult if they already contributed greatly towards giving the cat some habits.

But how often does it react to silent stationary photographs with meaningful objects on them? Birds, owners, checking how it reacts to another cat communicating something visually - essentially a test of nonhuman social setting & reaction. There doesn't appear to be much in such cases (still, I might set up a webcam once with another cat, should be fun)

Animals can be smart, but typically in a somewhat different way than people perceive it (indeed, we have problems / many biases of accurately approaching our own behaviors)

Re:My cat isn't deaf (2, Interesting)

shadowbearer (554144) | about 4 years ago | (#33865480)

  The only way that I can possibly respond to that is to say that you did not live with him and get to know him. I've had enough scientific training that I believe I can differentiate between my bias and objective interpretations. I may be wrong, but after a decade and a half of observing his behaviour, I don't think I am. It may or may not be relevant, but nearly all the "cat people" I know think that I am too objective in the way I treat them (they don't understand the fascination I find in watching them, even as they accept the fact that I love them - many cat people find it objectionable that I find cats "fascinating" as well as good companions. I find that viewpoint to be pretty narrow.

  It might be that because he lived in a household with humans who tended towards that sort of humour that he picked up on the behaviour - he had plenty of years to do so. However, I don't think so - many of his jokes did not reflect anything we would have done in that situation; IOW original; and because of that I believe that they were his own invention. He was certainly inventive enough, in the mischief he'd get in to!

  I realize that a scientific study would require a randomized, controlled environment to determine what we've been talking about. At the risk of sounding biased, I will say that cats may not necessarily behave the same way in a controlled study as they would when they are living with people they trust and not being scrutinised closely - which, if I may say so, might very well be a problem with humans in such studies as well ( and such has been documented) - in that they know they are being scrutinised and will act differently within that knowledge.

  I suspect that it's probably impossible to study a conscious, living being without any sort of introduced bias if the subject of the study knows they are being studied; whether they are informed of it or not, any living being capable of conscious thought is likely going to be at least somewhat aware of the scrutiny. One could argue that any living being with conscious awareness which doesn't notice the surveillance isn't really very aware of it's surroundings; but technology is changing that rather rapidly. Still, in any sort of scientific medical study, given the ethical guidelines they have to operate under, such awareness is a given.

  Anyone who says that cats aren't aware of human scrutiny has never lived with one.

  Gets complicated, don't it? ;-) Seriously, anyone who thinks that there aren't people who lie to their shrinks, control scientists, (or confessors, etc) is living in a fantasy world... as was pointed out in a New Scientist article recently, "white lies" are the basis of much of the social glue which keeps us from killing each other. That has of course been pointed out many times over the thousands of years of human syphilization.

  Look; I think the scientific method is the best way to really find out how the world works. I also think it has it's blind spots, and it's flaws, and that we have a long way to go to improve what we are doing now.

  On a more emotional level: We can't even treat the members of our own species as equals (look at the controversy, even in the scientific community, over the discovery of genetic differences between various "races" of humans; and then tell me how competent we are to determine whether or not other mammals share at least some of the traits of consciousness and intelligence; or that perhaps some of them may be better...

  that's enough for tonight...

SB

 

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | about 4 years ago | (#33866300)

I've had enough scientific training that I believe I can differentiate between my bias and objective interpretations.

Not to pick on you but this is probably the most dangerous thing a scientist can convince themselves of. The easiest person to fool is always yourself.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | about 4 years ago | (#33890258)

  Oh, I agree. I also think that scientists can be blinded by process, as well - that it can blind us to the obvious facts in front of our faces.*

  The same caveat wrt fooling oneself applies there; it's just not quite as formalised. Read about the "nature vs. nurture" debate, genetics "vs" environment, sometime. You may be surprised at what you find.

  * There is no such thing as a human scientist without bias, nor experiment without bias, when it comes to "measurement" of intelligence. We are biased by our very definitions of it. Which is why I prefer subjective measurements; I can be fooled, but in this respect, I can repeat the experiment daily, and "take observations" continually.

  I spent over a decade and a half observing that cat, within situations that no researcher could ever dream up. I know what I saw, saw it repeatedly; there are no other explanations.

  As has been often said, there are things one can observe in reality that cannot be duplicated in a lab.

  And yes, I loved him - he was one of the best friends I ever had - but if that is a condition that precludes me objectively observing him, by the definition of modern science wrt intelligence, then I don't want anything to do with "modern" science in that respect, as the blinders have fallen over it, and that blindness will forever exclude it from ever explaining intelligence and consciousness.

  One can't seperate the thing you are trying to explain from it's surroundings and ever hope to find out how it works.

SB

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | about 4 years ago | (#33941052)

Oh, I agree. I also think that scientists can be blinded by process, as well - that it can blind us to the obvious facts in front of our faces.*

This is the sort of danger I refer to - what is obvious to us may not be the case - and it its process that "saves" us from things that appear to be obvious (i.e. that the earth is flat, sun revolves around earth etc. - these are obvious exaggerations but it displays my point)

The same caveat wrt fooling oneself applies there; it's just not quite as formalised. Read about the "nature vs. nurture" debate, genetics "vs" environment, sometime. You may be surprised at what you find.

I'm not sure what you mean here - I am actually quite familiar with this area of research.

There is no such thing as a human scientist without bias, nor experiment without bias, when it comes to "measurement" of intelligence. We are biased by our very definitions of it. Which is why I prefer subjective measurements; I can be fooled, but in this respect, I can repeat the experiment daily, and "take observations" continually.

I think this is the wrong attitude - yes there are no human scientists without bias, which is why we have rules, "best practice", and procedure to take the human out of the equation as much as possible. I think it is a mistake to go the other way and give up attempting to be unbiased.

I spent over a decade and a half observing that cat, within situations that no researcher could ever dream up. I know what I saw, saw it repeatedly; there are no other explanations.

Remember "clever hans"? His owner spent his whole life with him, and was fully convinced he could solve mathematical problems - after all he too saw repeatedly that he tapped his hoof the correct number of times - he could not think of any other explanation for it. But that is the kicker - it doesn't mean that there isn't. If he had just set up a correct double blind experiment - he would have seen it almost instantly that his hypothesis was false.

Obviously you could very well be right - but the point is that it needs to be carefully tested before you can be sure of it. There are a many researchers that have personal hunches that X is true - and they can see it from their experience that it is very likely to be the case, but they will tell you that they are yet to find a way to prove it. Much of the real genius (and naturally hard work) in this kind of science is figuring out ways of testing that X.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | about 4 years ago | (#33943776)

  When it involves the physical sciences,fine. But there is no such thing as "science"when it comes to intelligence and consciousness. There are no theories that can fit the evidence.

  Oddly enough, your sig here very relevant.

  Control is an illusion, order our comforting lie. From chaos, through chaos, into chaos we fly

SB

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 4 years ago | (#33865734)

That experiment would be more valid if you had different items.

Well, derr, I was aiming for silly, not Insightful. ;)

But if you're interested in it from a behavioral point of view, I'll point out something I've noticed: They respond to context. I'm the one that feeds both of the cats. My chair in my office makes a distinctive squeaking noise when I stand up. Every time I stand up, my girlfriend's cat immediately leaps off her lap and stands at the base of the stairs. Also, whenever my alarm goes off, they both sit on the bed. If they're really hungry, one of them will sit on my chest as a 'cuddly' way of waking me up. (They know if they push too hard the door'll be closed and they'll be on the wrong side of it.)

Opening a can of cat-food gets their attention, but everything leading up to it does as well. They're very routine-oriented creatures. Every day my cat waits by the door just about the time I come home. During the weekends he just sits in the window and snoozes. Very bizarre. You'd almost think he was reading clocks.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1, Troll)

StikyPad (445176) | about 4 years ago | (#33863714)

I once performed a similar experiment where I set up a can opener in the backyard with a dish of cat food next to it and left the can opener running. I then used the cats for target practice with my paintball gun. I know you're thinking... a paintball could still cause serious injury, especially to a small animal, which is why I waited till they had taken a bite of the poisoned cat food before I shot them.

Anyway, the experiment successfully confirmed the hypothesis that I hate cats.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33866380)

That's WAY too painless. You're such a poseur!

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 4 years ago | (#33866046)

I don't think my cat uses hearing to detect an opened can of food. I did an experiment once where he was on the ground floor and at the opposite end. I carefully and quietly opened the can and *PifF* he teleported into the room, right by the bowl. I don't know how they do that.

Didn't you know? Your cat uses hearing to hear your thoughts. The sound made by opening the can was irrelevant in your experiment.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 4 years ago | (#33866100)

Actually.. I think they know I'm opening it because they've ordered me to do it.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 4 years ago | (#33868728)

Actually.. I think they know I'm opening it because they've ordered me to do it.

Hmm, yeah, that coull0hgnsi
dont be stupid
cats dont have mind control powers
Preview
backspace backspace
youstupidhuman
youdienow

Re:My cat isn't deaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863150)

I would like ot know -- how does one tell the difference between a deaf cat and a cat such as yours (or mine)?

Re:My cat isn't deaf (4, Funny)

falsified (638041) | about 4 years ago | (#33863518)

Turn on a vacuum cleaner.

If you have to peel the cat out from underneath your bed ten seconds later, then it is not deaf.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33864712)

Or: accidentally leave the cat in the same room as washing machine (preferably a bit old, loud) when it starts its centrifuge thing. Take note if meowing is louder.

Re:My cat isn't deaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33969416)

I had a cat a few years ago that didn't hate the vacuum cleaner; instead, she loved it to the point she would walk to the carpets we were vacuuming and lie down so that we would vacuum her too.

I admit that the first time she did it (willingly, before anyone asks,) she seemed very scared. But seeing that we didn't shoo'd her away she stood still and from then on she always wanted us to vacuum her again. But I have no idea why she liked it after all. Too bad she's already dead.

I miss her.

God's no dummy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863094)

It only makes sense to program the brain to automatically redistribute processing power to those sensors that are still transmitting inputs.

Re:God's no dummy (0, Troll)

cpscotti (1032676) | about 4 years ago | (#33863186)

It also makes sense to make everybody beautiful, freaking intelligent and in love with each other. But still, seems god isn't the owner of that good sense you refer to.

Re:God's no dummy (1, Flamebait)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | about 4 years ago | (#33863216)

If he was, he'd prove he was there in the first place, so we'd all stop killing each other over him.

Re:God's no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863610)

Some people can be real bastards when playing The Sims on their computer. If such entity did exist and the universe is merely a game, why would it be any different?

Of course we'll never know, unless boredom leads to some obvious l33t hacks that break normal gameplay mechanics.

Re:God's no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33865208)

Jesus, Muhammed, Moses, Creationists, the fucking Platypus ( a poisonous egg laying mammal with the tail of a beaver and the bill of a duck) those 12 kids that got thrown a mile by a tornado in china, to land safely, that place somewhere in north america (canada or the USA - cant remember which) where there are numerous 500+ pound boulders (might be 5000 pound) 3 or 4 stories up trees with no rational explanations. seriously all those hacks and more, God is a comedian with a black sense of humour, and he is definitely fucking with us lol.

Re:God's no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863290)

"God" (capitalized) is the name of a god, the way you used it makes no sense. If you were referring to the Jewish/Christian/Muslim god then its name is "God."

While I'm guessing you're trying to display your disbelief in said god, it really just makes you look ignorant.

Re:God's no dummy (2, Informative)

poopdeville (841677) | about 4 years ago | (#33863426)

That's not right. The god's name is Yahweh. We capitalize its title because we capitalize ALL of its titles and pronouns. And He said, "Let there be light", for example.

Re:God's no dummy (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33864962)

Adonai seems to be most commonly used at my place recently. Or was it Elohim... (and who knows how many / probably just names of many different ones coalesced into one character)

Re:God's no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33870494)

Actually, Adonai and Elohim are titles.

Re:God's no dummy (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33870738)

Some of the ways by which people chose to name something fits, in practice, the category of "names", I suppose... especially since all of them are like that, also "true" one (unless the true hidden one never strictly existed, in that sense it wouldn't fulfill the above criteria obviously)

Re:God's no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33880452)

I hear you, but if I call Obama 'The President of the USA', that's not his name.

'Elohim' ('God(s)') and 'Adonai' ('The Lord') are titles which are pronounced instead of YHWH when reading the Hebrew bible. This as a result of a misunderstanding, which led people to think that the name of God may not be pronounced.

I do agree with you, that the distinction between name and title can become a bit fuzzy at times. And I'd bet money that YHWH is also a descriptive title that evolved into a name.

But I personally lean towards calling them titles.

Re:God's no dummy (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33884548)

Though if Obama would be called like that in a setting where there are no other presidents, never were, and never will be... (last one always interacting in a funny way with omnipotence and which of the two spheres (earthly vs. sublime) is really in control, BTW) Yup, damn fuzzy in such case.

Anyway, certainly in practice it is presented as a name, at least at my place in the folk version. Unfortunately the dynamics of those are somewhat neglected typically (but then, at least my local flavor is not very Abrahamic and indeed not very monotheistic if looking at it with any kind of rigor; seems fairly typical, too)

Re:God's no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33898578)

which of the two spheres (earthly vs. sublime) is really in control

Please elaborate?

I don't think I've heard of your "flavour" before.

Re:God's no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33869240)

The god's name is Yahweh.

We think it was 'Yahweh', but we're not absolutely sure.

Also, 'God' is actually used as a name in English. Anyone can have more than one name.

Other than that, you are correct. Fun fact: you didn't capitalise 'Its'. ;)

(I'm not the GP.)

Re:God's no dummy (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33871042)

It's pretty hubristic to think that you can in any way understand an entity that can create a universe.

Re:God's no dummy (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33863600)

It would take research, but I don't think that this is a matter of redistribution. It's a matter of portions of the brain having multiple purposes. For instance it's typical for ones vision to dim when one is really focused on listening to something. And since one can't hear anything there would be no competition between purposes.

Re:God's no dummy (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33865034)

Hm, but how does it make sense for the brain to essentially self-destruct - while automatically trying to restart, at a reckless rate, oxygen cellular pathways after some period of its deprivation ...unless in severe hypothermia. Then it might be fine.

Shazow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863134)

The real question is how the same brain areas are repurposed in hip cats.

what? (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#33863144)

but up until now, no one has explained how and why that could be.

ok, I agree that it's interesting research, but have they really never heard the explanation that they use them more? Neuroplasticity is awesome, but there certainly have been explanations for it before now.....

Re:what? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#33863432)

Maybe here "explained" means "proven a hypothesis on." Untested hypotheses aren't worth much.

Re:what? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33863612)

AFAICT all they managed to demonstrate was that there was a connection between the beefed up processing and the deafness/blindess. Which is really just a first step towards more thorough study.

I'd imagine that further research would probably focus on cases where one loses sight or hearing later on in life. Probably what happens when one temporarily loses hearing/vision and when that happens repeatedly versus just once.

Really, this is just one step towards a lot of other research that's really necessary to understand what's really going on and why.

Re:what? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 4 years ago | (#33864046)

Probably what happens when one temporarily loses hearing/vision and when that happens repeatedly versus just once.

Hmmm... maybe true, but somehow I have my doubts this research has any consequence for temporary disabilities. Reasons for the doubts: a single word in TFS, see it quoted/emph-ed below:

[...]reorganisation of the part of the brain that usually handles auditory input in CONGENITALLY deaf cats

Besides, the research you imagine assumes that the brain would be not only plastic, but elastic as well (your when that happens repeatedly versus just once). I'm quite afraid that you'll finish in impacting both abilities that you want to "train", by "inducing confusion in the neurons about what they are meant to recognize/process".

I can haz xray vizion??? (1, Funny)

jolyonr (560227) | about 4 years ago | (#33863180)

kthxbi

Random Question: Just cats and humans? (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | about 4 years ago | (#33863476)

I read the summary, it's kind of interesting. The graphs in the actual article look pretty definitive. But a sentence stood out to me:

Cats are the only animal besides humans that can be born deaf.

Does anyone know what that is? I've never heard this before. My natural assumption would be that most animals could be born deaf, and that it's just selected out of the population by natural selection. But if that were the case, we'd expect other animals (especially those without natural selection pressures, such as domesticated Dogs) to be born deaf.

But just cats and humans? What about other primates?

Re:Random Question: Just cats and humans? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#33863570)

It's a blatantly false statement. Not checked by any journalist reporting on this of course.

Re:Random Question: Just cats and humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863830)

I agree, completely false. Mice, rats, pigs, dogs and alpacas have been born with congenital deafness on a regular basis. Probably a lot of other species but thanks to proximity, only major domesticated species have any sort of consistent information about congenital deafness.

There are deaf dogs (4, Informative)

mrstrano (1381875) | about 4 years ago | (#33863836)

Cats are the only animal besides humans that can be born deaf.

found this in two seconds

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1630&aid=857 [peteducation.com]

There are racist dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863968)

It's equally as funny as it is entertaining to see a dog bark and growl at a particular race. I'm sure most people have seen a racist dog or two.

Re:There are deaf dogs (2, Informative)

ciroknight (601098) | about 4 years ago | (#33865032)

If you had read your own link, you'd realize that it in no way invalidates the assertion that cats and humans are the only animals born deaf. It simply states that pearl-coated dogs are likely to inherit a degenerative neural disease which kills the auditory neurons during their lifetime; they are born with fully-to-partially functional hearing.

Still, it seems incredibly unlikely that only humans and cats are born deaf.

Re:There are deaf dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33866946)

He said CAN be born deaf, not are.

Neurologists often use the cat brain as a model due to its similarity to ours - this has been covered on /. before. Therefore its not implausible if there were some brain-effected traits that applied to both cats and humans.

Re:Random Question: Just cats and humans? (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | about 4 years ago | (#33864066)

  My understanding (and this is from bits of info picked up over the years) is that domestic cats are the only species that we know of who can be born completely deaf - there are other mammals who can be born with limited and deteriorating hearing, but the latter is likely because of diseases picked up at or before birth. I've heard - and take this with a big grain of salt - that kittens who are born deaf do not vocalize from day one, as many newborn kittens will when trying to find momma's teats.

  I'm no expert on the subject however, would love to hear more about it from someone who knows more. Something else to research someday...

SB

other feline neuron re-purposing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33863656)

My cat has re-purposed both of his neurons to become better at minimizing the gravitational potential energy of every small object in my dwelling.

(He certainly wasn't using them to listen to me...)

Up Until Now? (4, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 years ago | (#33864356)

"Deaf or blind people often report enhanced abilities in their remaining senses, but up until now, no one has explained how and why that could be."

Up until now? Pfft.

There's been a lot of experiments done on the brain repurposing unused areas of the brain. For example, a school of the blind in France requires all of their teachers to spend some period of time living in perfect darkness inside a house so that they can better appreciate what their students are going through. Teachers that go through the program report being able to 'see sound', which is basically the result of their visual cortex being repurposed to process audio input, but which the brain is still taking as input into whatever it is that creates our visual senses in our sensorium.

Likewise, when they leave the darkness, they have a really hard time seeing for a few days, as the brain slowly adjusts back to using the visual cortex for what it was intended for.

I'd really recommend Dioge's book, The Brain that Changes Itself. It's a good summary of brain plasticity.

Re:Up Until Now? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33865086)

Certainly it sounds like something intriguing enough to try, given enough free time and a possibility to completely darken the place where one lives. Hm, considering slashdotters & basements... (plus some audio desktop to eliminate monitor, I guess)

Re:Up Until Now? (2, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 4 years ago | (#33867338)

Hmm, I doubt the /. er girlfriends would allow it.

Re:Up Until Now? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33872936)

One can always find a girlfriend who won't mind the lack of a monitor [wikipedia.org] (though the particular implementation from that Wiki article is quite disturbing, I was aiming more at "tactile relief" stuff / oh well, first link will do; but I can't help but wonder: after so long stay in total darkness that the mind starts to "see sounds", what the effect would be when merely hearing a recording of some, uhm, girlfriend)

I for one..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33865120)

am glad that the researchers I work with as a lab tech have figured this out. I'm tired of blowing off M-80's next to kittens ears.

Next experiment is something about paralyzed dogs. "Here is some money, get an axe at Home Depot" they said. Hmmm, I wonder what I will have to do there.

Reminds me of a TED talk I once saw (1)

Quartinus (1678656) | about 4 years ago | (#33865122)

Reminds me of this talk, about the brain and certain damage it can receive.

Vilayanur Ramachandran on your mind [ted.com]

-Quartinae

Pointless (2, Interesting)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | about 4 years ago | (#33865356)

They didn't need to go to the trouble to "discover" that: they could have asked me. I lost my hearing at age 17 and, in response, my brain increased its abilities 10-fold, easily, so that I'm now the smartest man on the planet. Why, yes, I am wearing my underwear outside of my pants. Why do you ask...?

No, seriously, I did lose my hearing. I found that I compensated for it by paying way more attention to non-verbal cues. For example, I can tell before an interviewer even knows it, himself, that I'm not gonna get the job. I can also see it, clearly, when someone's trying to BS me. You also learn introspection, since you don't have the auditory distractions.

Not just fully blind/deaf (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | about 4 years ago | (#33866532)

I've always relied very heavily on audio cues my whole life, and have exceptionally developed hearing (perfect pitch, good direction finding, instrument/voice separation, etc). I'm pretty seriously red/green colorblind (failed all the bubble wheels at the optometrist), and I've often wondered if this is related.

Re:Not just fully blind/deaf (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33870256)

I don't think so. My dad is red-green color blind, and his hearing is normal but he claims he's tone deaf.

Welcome (3, Funny)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | about 4 years ago | (#33867334)

I for one welcome our deaf cat overlords.

I said "I welcome you"

I WELCOME YOU DEAF CATS!

Re:Welcome (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | about 4 years ago | (#33867968)

> I WELCOME YOU DEAF CATS!

OMG! We have no time to survive! Make our time!

Deaf CATS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33873790)

What you say?

I just had a bad thought reading the summary... (1)

Purpleslog (1645951) | about 4 years ago | (#33869318)

So...how did the scientist get so many deaf cat samples?

Re:I just had a bad thought reading the summary... (1)

Uzuri (906298) | about 4 years ago | (#33962236)

Many many many white cats are deaf, so it probably wasn't difficult to find natural subjects. But yeah, that sort of thing crosses a lot of minds when you see something like this. In this case, I doubt there were any scientists poking cats' eardrums out.

Oh yay! (1)

Ryyuajnin (862754) | about 4 years ago | (#33869326)

Perhaps these cats will actually be good listeners... sit fluffy sit!... Sit... Siiiiiiiit... SIT FLUFFY... nope... still the same.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?