Cognitive Science goes on owl prowl

Looking over a student's shoulder who has an owl up close in her view finder with the owl in the background.The cognitive science department recently held their inaugural “Owl Prowl” that attracted more than four dozen students, including many from the university’s Explore program

Led by an owl expert from the Shaker Lakes Nature Center, attendees learned about our local owl population prior to the walk to Lake View Cemetery for an evening stroll and prowl. The expert played recordings of owl calls as everyone did their best to be quiet enough to attract the owls (not easy with so many students). 

The tie in between cognitive science and owls

“What does this have to do with cognitive science?,” one student asked as they waited for owls to call back. 

“Everything connects to the transdisciplinary study of the mind,” said Fey Parrill, cognitive science’s department chair. “The way we navigate routes, honor our dead, design spaces, how our brains process sounds, the way we communicate with each other and what we can learn from other species.”

The owl prowl attracted local jays and the group learned about their “mobbing” behavior designed to drive predators away—interesting social behavior not unlike our own. The group then returned to the department’s new offices at the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Building for a reception, owl call practice and chat with faculty about research and the major. 

Photos courtesy of Tanvir Hasan.