Skip to content

Humans (slightly) perk up their ears when listening intently to sounds! A recent study found that muscles around the human ear make tiny subtle movements (ear 'perking' movements) when focusing on novel, unusual, or specific sounds. These movements of muscles around the ears also indicate the direction of sounds a person is paying attention to.

It's not the obvious pointing of the ears that dogs and cats do - it's much more subtle and can be seen in the "electrical activity of muscles around the ear". Thus the researchers write: "Our species may nevertheless have retained a vestigial pinna-orienting system that has persisted as a 'neural fossil’ within in the brain for about 25 million years. Consistent with this hypothesis, we demonstrate that the direction of auditory attention is reflected in sustained electrical activity of muscles within the vestigial auriculomotor system. "

From Science Daily: Our animal inheritance: Humans perk up their ears, too, when they hear interesting sounds

Many animals, including dogs, cats and various species of monkeys, will move their ears to better focus their attention on a novel sound.  ...continue reading "Humans Slightly Perk Up Their Ears To Sounds"