Page 69 - Summer 2018
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What makes you a good acoustician?
As much as I like studying hearing and, therefore, aspects of acoustics, I am not sure that there is anything special about studying acoustics in particular that makes one good at it. I think that being good at doing anything is based on (1) the people one interacts with, (2) really liking what one is doing, and (3) actually enjoying working hard. Being able to inter- act with great people and to enjoy what you are doing is part luck, but it is also a skill one can develop if one realizes that these are important ingredients in being good at something.
How do you handle rejection?
Not as well as I would like. I try to convince myself that I should treat the rejection and its consequential disappoint- ment as a learning experience, so I am less likely to be re- jected in the future. I am not sure how well I do this.
What are you proudest of in your career?
Rightly or wrongly, I am proud that I have had what I think is a positive influence on some of my friends and colleagues, my students, my discipline, and, in some cases, society. I re- alized early in my career (based on great mentors) that hav- ing such influences is important and that to do so requires an ability to work with others. Working well with others means that you learn from them and that their positive influences on you dwarf your influences on them.
I am very glad that early successful interactions outside of the strict confines of my “job” were enjoyable. I enjoyed be- ing placed in leadership roles in which I was asked to help others succeed. These leadership roles led to opportunities to interact with external organizations to work on issues rel- evant to societal needs (e.g., open access for journal publi- cation or grant-funding decisions), sometimes on subjects that were somewhat removed from my expertise (e.g., Citro et al., 2003; a published NRC report on the protection of hu- man subjects in the behavioral sciences).
What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
I am very fortunate in the choices I have made. I have few regrets both in terms of my career and in my personal choic- es outside of my career, mostly because I have a great fam- ily, friends, colleagues, and mentors. I am not implying that I have not made mistakes, as I have made many. However, none that I can think of were major, life-altering mistakes. I do wish I had taken more math and biology as a student and spent more time over the years learning more math and biology.
What advice do you have for budding acousticians?
Do not be afraid to try new things; be a lifelong learner. Cul- tivate your friends and colleagues; learn from them. Find good mentors; listen to them. Work hard; enjoy what you are doing.
Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome?
How did you deal with that if so?
I had not seen the term “imposter syndrome” before. Wiki- pedia says it is “a fear of being found to be a fraud.” I am not sure I ever had a strong “fear of being found to be a fraud.” But I have certainly worried at times that I may have over- stated a finding or opinion. There is no doubt that my family, friends, colleagues, and, especially, mentors usually steered me toward a better path when such events occurred. These wonderful people have always demanded that I seek humil- ity in my life, which I have tried to do.
What do you want to accomplish within the next 10 years or before retirement?
First and foremost at my age, I hope to stay healthy and men- tally alert into my 80s and beyond. I want to continue to ex- perience my family grow and prosper. I want to cultivate my friendships. I wouldn’t mind if I can come into a lab every once and a while and work with young energetic colleagues to contribute to their scholarly growth and help in discoveries of one type or another. However, if you truly want to know my real desire, it is to continually break 80 in golf.
Citro, C. F., Ilgen, D. R., and Marrett, C. B. (Eds.). (2003). Protecting Par- ticipants and Facilitating Social and Behavioral Sciences Research. National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
Yost, W. A. (2007). Fundamentals of Hearing: An Introduction, 5th ed. Brill Press, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Yost, W. A. (2009). Pitch perception. Attention, Perception and Psychophys- ics 71, 1701-1715.
Yost, W. A., and Gourevitch, G. (Eds.). (1987). Directional Hearing. Spring- er-Verlag, New York.
Yost, W. A, Popper, A. N., and Fay, R. R (Eds.). (2008). Auditory Perception of Sound Sources. Springer US, New York.
Yost, W. A., Sheft, S., and Opie, J. (1989). Modulation detection interfer- ence: Effect of modulation frequency. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 86, 2138-2148.
Yost, W. A., Zhong, X., and Najam, A. (2015). Judging sound rotation when listeners and sound rotate: Sound source localization is a multisensory pro- cess. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 138, 3293-3308.
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