Dear All,

Our next seminar will be next Tuesday (17th May) from 1-2pm.

Attend in-person at 25C Wally's Walk, Room C326.

Or, join us on zoom at this link:<>
    Zoom Password: seminar

Dr Thomas Corbin & Dr Alex Gillett (Macquarie University)


Cicada hunting, distributed cognition, and skilled auditory perception


There are estimated to be at least 800 undescribed cicada species in Australia 
today. Researching these species has obvious scientific merit within multiple 
sub-fields of biological science. Using a cognitive ethnography, in this paper 
we argue that such research is also of interest to philosophers and 
psychologists. Specifically, cicada hunting involves a unique form of skilled 
auditory perception in which there is triangulation, enumeration, and 
differentiation in a challenging high noise-to-signal environment.

The Cicada-hunter community presents a valuable case study of ‘little science’ 
motivated and conducted by unpaid amateur enthusiasts developing skills and 
adapting existing technologies in unique ways. Cicadas are remarkably elusive 
creatures endowed by natural selection with a range of camouflaging traits and 
evading abilities. As such, successfully locating and catching specimens is 
difficult and requires extensive practice and the development of specifically 
tailored perception skills. Learning and mastering the patterned practices and 
skilled techniques involved in hunting cicadas leads to enculturated and 
skilled auditory perceptual capacities. We present this as a case study of 
distributed cognition in scientific practices.

Find details of upcoming seminars on our department website:<>.

For any queries relating to Macquarie Philosophy work-in-progress seminars 
please contact<> 

Best wishes,

Pierrick Bourrat | DECRA Fellow & Senior Lecturer


Philosophy Department| Macquarie University | NSW | 2109

Research Affiliate, The University of Sydney
Theory and Method in Biosciences | W<>

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