Nina Kraus – Of Sound Mind, How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World


The MIT Press, ISBN 978- 0262545075, English, 368 pages, 2022, USA

What if we could finally realise that sound is more important to humans than sight? We might begin to think that the whole Western ocularcentrism could be challenged, not to mention our unequivocal dependence on screens….Reading ‘Of Sound Mind’ is very refreshing, although ostensibly still primarily using sight, as the author explains in chapter 7, our neural processing of sound still plays a significant role. This is a text full of discoveries, even for those who are deeply involved in listening or composing music. The first chapters explain how we perceive external sounds and how signals are generated in our heads, while the remaining chapters focus on the critical importance of sound for us all. For example: how all vertebrates have a hearing mechanism (while many are blind), how hearing is perceived faster than any other sense, how it is basically always ‘on’, how what we know directly affects what we hear, how we have increasingly moved to ignore sounds and turn to sight, and many other significant findings. Kraus is a neuroscientist and writes with clear prose which is supported by simple illustrations and a solid scientific divulging tone that makes us understand our ‘sound mind’, how it shapes us while irresistibly encouraging us to devote more time and attention to hearing, and other frequently missed sound experiences.