The Sounds of Silence

Why silence is golden.


Driving cars and living in high-rise apartments are relatively new experiences for the human species, but demonstrate that we are particularly good at adapting to a diverse range of physical landscapes. Environmental psychology explores how physical spaces influence the way we feel, think, and interact with the world and vice versa.


Quite simply, cognition refers to thinking. There are the obvious applications of conscious reasoning—doing taxes, playing chess, deconstructing Macbeth—but thought takes many subtler forms, such as interpreting sensory input, guiding physical actions, and empathizing with others. The old metaphor for human cognition was the computer—a logical information-processing machine.