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Author Topic: The Cat Telephone  (Read 2069 times)

gt94sss2

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The Cat Telephone
« on: December 02, 2023, 05:18:30 PM »

I read this and thought of this forum!

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What do a cat and a telephone have in common? They were the same thing in an experiment conducted in 1929 by Professor Ernest Glen Wever and his research assistant Charles William Bray here at Princeton University. Wever and Bray took an unconscious, but alive, cat and transformed it into a working telephone to test how sound is perceived by the auditory nerve.

More at https://universityarchives.princeton.edu/2017/04/the-cat-telephone/
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kitz

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Re: The Cat Telephone
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2023, 09:46:13 PM »

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they first sedated the cat and opened its skull to better access the auditory nerve. A telephone wire was attached to the nerve and the other end of the wire was connected to a telephone receiver. Bray would speak in the cat’s ears, while Wever would listen through the receiver 50 feet away in a soundproof room.

 In one experiment, they restricted the blood circulation to the cat’s head, which also ceased the transmission of sound from the receiver.

eke, I kinda of switched off right there and became squeamish about the cats welfare and whether sedation meant pain free, which no doubt it wasn't. :(


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Their research laid a foundation for cochlear implants, devices that convert sound vibrations into electrical signals to the brain.

Made me think about some of the technical advances in the past and how much of it was due to animal testing.  Hopefully we have better ways of conducting experiments these days.

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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: The Cat Telephone
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2023, 10:26:42 PM »

Sadly we don't, particularly medical science.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: The Cat Telephone
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2023, 11:42:54 PM »

On the association of telephones with domestic pets….

…I assume we’re all aware that Alexander Graham Bell’s interests in acoustics and communication began not with the telephone, but with earlier attempts to teach his dog to speak.

https://www.thedodo.com/before-inventing-the-telephone-489117573.html

I first encountered that pearl of wisdom in a book in our primary school library, 1960s.  I have no idea what the book was or who published it.   But my hazy memory of the tale as recounted in that book, probably inaccurate, is that the ‘telephone’ apparatus was originally intended to be a device he could somehow connect to his beloved dog to enhance its speech, human to human communication being an incidental benefit.   That aspect is almost certainly a figment of my imagination, but I’d so much like to believe it was true…. :D
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kitz

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Re: The Cat Telephone
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2023, 12:16:23 AM »

>> Alexander Graham Bell’s interests in acoustics and communication began not with the telephone, but with earlier attempts to teach his dog to speak. <<

A bit of googling show there is some truth in that statement. ;D
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4candles

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Re: The Cat Telephone
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2023, 02:31:03 PM »

And there was I thinking 'dog & bone' was rhyming slang   :-\
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