Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Does node stability underlie the verbal transformation effect?
'Illusion arises when the perceptual system breaks down. Researchers study illusions to enhance their understanding of the otherwise hidden mechanisms responsible for accurate perception. Studying verbal illusions, therefore, may reveal something about the functioning of the language system. One such illusion is the verbal transformation effect, first reported by researchers in 1958. They found that listeners who were presented with a continuously repeating word or phrase began to perceive transformations — that is, changes in the repeating stimulus, relative to what the listener had perceived on preceding repetitions of the stimulus. Transformations ranged from one-phoneme alterations to drastic phonological distortions. For example, when presented with the word truce, participants reported hearing phonetically similar transformations, such as struce and truth, and the pseudoword struth, as well as dissimilar transformations, such as Esther.
'This transformation is also related to semantic satiation, a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then processes the speech as repeated meaningless sounds. The phrase "semantic satiation" was coined by Leon Jakobovits James in his doctoral dissertation at McGill University, Montreal, Canada awarded in 1962. The dissertation presents several experiments that demonstrate the operation of the semantic satiation effect in various cognitive tasks such as rating words and figures that are presented repeatedly in a short time, verbally repeating words then grouping them into concepts, adding numbers after repeating them out loud, and bilingual translations of words repeated in one of the two languages. In each case subjects would repeat a word or number for several seconds, then perform the cognitive task using that word. It was demonstrated that repeating a word prior to its use in a task made the task somewhat more difficult. The explanation for the phenomenon was that verbal repetition repeatedly aroused a specific neural pattern in the cortex which corresponds to the meaning of the word. Rapid repetition causes both the peripheral sensorimotor activity and the central neural activation to fire repeatedly, which is known to cause reactive inhibition, hence a reduction in the intensity of the activity with each repetition.
'What causes verbal transformations? The most detailed accounts of the verbal transformation effect to date are derived from a broad theory of speech perception and production known as node structure theory. Node structure theory is instantiated as a localist network model, with nodes (representational units) hierarchically organized into three levels: the muscle movement level, the phonological level, and the sentential level. The muscle movement level contains nodes specifically for the production of speech. Nodes at the phonological level represent sublexical linguistic units, such as syllables, sub-syllabic segments (e.g., onset or rhyme), and phonetic features. The sentential level contains lexical nodes for words and phrases.
'Both perception and production operate on the same nodes at the phonological and sentential levels. In perception, speech input first primes nodes at the feature level. Priming produces increased subthreshold activity (but not activation, as the term is generally used) in a node.It spreads in parallel across nodes, with its strength being positively related to how well it matches the input. In the same fashion, priming spreads to the phonological nodes and, finally, to the lexical nodes. At each level, priming strength is a function of the match to the input from the preceding level. Although several nodes may be primed at once, only the node that is primed to a higher degree than all the others becomes activated.
'How pseudowords are recognized and new lexical entries are formed is also described by node structure theory. Connections from nodes in the phonological system converge to form temporary lexical nodes that represent pseudowords. These connections are initially weak, and without frequent activation, these newly formed and fragile connections will decay. Repeated use of the pseudoword will eventually “commit” the node to permanent status, at which point it will become a new entry in the lexicon.
'Unique among models of speech perception, node structure theory provides a detailed account of the dynamics of representational units during repeated stimulation, which allows one to make precise predictions regarding the verbal transformation effect. In node structure theory, verbal transformations occur because of node satiation, which is a drop in the maximum attainable priming level of a node. Nodes at the lexical level or at the phonological level can become satiated. Satiation occurs because of repeated activation (not merely priming) of a node from continual repetition of the same utterance (e.g., the word cast). As satiation increases, the node’s priming level drops, eventually falling below that of a competitor node (e.g., the lexical node for fast) that is only moderately primed by the speech input, because of one or more mismatching phonological segments. Because the most primed node becomes activated in node structure theory, the competitor node (e.g., the lexical node for fast), which now has the highest priming level, will then become activated, resulting in the perception of a transformation (i.e., the word fast) by the listener.
'As the preceding description suggests, the amount of priming a node receives greatly influences the transformations perceived. A node that is unable to attain a great deal of priming will rarely become activated. One other factor that influences transformations, according to node structure theory, is neighborhood density, which is the number of lexical entries (i.e., neighbors) that are phonetically similar to the repeating stimulus. The more neighbors there are, the greater the number of possible competitors there are to become activated, resulting in a greater number and a wider range of transformations. Researchers have reported data that confirm this prediction.
'At the heart of node structure theory’s account of the verbal transformation effect is the concept of lexical node stability, which refers to the extent to which a node remains activated over its competitors. The more stable a node is, the less frequently it will lose out to other lexical competitors becoming activated. Stability is a function of a number of variables, such as the amount of priming transmitted to the lexical node from phonological nodes (i.e., acoustic–phonetic fit), neighborhood density, and strength of its connections, which is directly related to frequency of use. Thus, node stability should be inversely related to transformation frequency. In particular, nodes for words, which have strong and well-formed representations, should be more stable than nodes for pseudowords. Data from a few experiments partially support this prediction. In 1966, researchers recorded the number of transformations that listeners reported when hearing words and pseudowords repeat. He found that pseudowords elicited more transformations than did words, suggesting that nodes for pseudowords are less stable than nodes for words. In an analysis of the specific transformations (i.e., forms) that listeners reported, one researcher found a similar asymmetry, with pseudowords eliciting more forms than did words. Natsoulas also discussed the verbal transformation effect in terms of satiation and perceptual stability.
'Construction of an accurate model of word perception requires specifying the operation of representational units. At present, knowledge about their operation is lacking, which is why decisions on how to implement them in computational models, such as TRACE and Merge, must be guided by intuitions and indirect evidence. The hypothesized mechanisms of satiation and recovery, as embodied in node structure theory, begin to fill this gap by describing how reactivation of representational units might occur. The verbal transformation effect is well suited for testing the validity of this proposal, because the frequent perception of transformations provides a means of measuring node stability and, thus, linking it to one or more of these mechanisms.' -- Lisa Contos Shoaf & Mark A. Pitt, Ohio State University
The demonstrations were designed for headphone listening, and since some of the effects involve different signals delivered to each ear, stereo headphones are recommended. If you click on the link, a new window will open and begin playing the sound file. You should adjust the playback so that the narrative portions are at a comfortable listening level.
RESTORATION OF ABSENT SOUNDS
Homophonic Temporal Induction
Tone (Fixed Levels)
Tone (Changing Fainter Level)
Heterophonic Temporal Induction
Temporal Induction of Speech:
Single Phonemic Restoration
Restoration by Noise
Temporal Induction of Speech:
Multiple Phonemic Restorations
Restoration by Noise
PITCH AND INFRAPITCH
Repetition of Frozen Noise Segments
"Whooshing" Infrapitch (2 Hz)
"Motorboating" Infrapitch (6 Hz)
"Motorboating" Infrapitch (15 Hz)
Noisy Pitch (40 Hz)
Pure Melodic Pitch (120 Hz)
Pure Melodic Pitch (300 Hz)
CONTRALATERAL INDUCTION OF TONE
PERCEPTION OF ACOUSTIC SEQUENCES
Identification of Order
Nonverbal and Verbal Sounds
Global Pattern Recognition of Permuted Orders
Brief Nonverbal Sounds
Brief Speech Sounds:
The Vowel Sequence Illusion
ILLUSORY CHANGES OF REPEATED WORDS:
THE VERBAL TRANSFORMATION EFFECT
Diotic Bisyllabic Reversible Word "Farewell/Welfare"
Diotic Monosyllabic Reversible Word "Ace/Say"
'The philosopher and musicologist Theodor W. Adorno describes material as something which is a self-sedimented spirit, predetermined by society, in the minds of people. Based on this theory, the artist can only choose from a limited range of materials as dealing intensively with the material inevitably leads to a discussion with society. If an artist consciously tries to abandon this repressive paradigm he or she might only partly succeed since historical patterns will immediately be recalled. Adorno exemplifies the shabbiness and abrasion of the diminished seventh chord or certain chromatic passing notes in the Palm Court Music of the 19th century as musical taboos. According to him, these tones were not only outmoded but utterly wrong and did not fulfill their function any more. The truth or non-truth of a material is not decided on its isolated appearance but on its position within the prevailing standards of aesthetics.
'In music there are only few compositions that consist of merely perseverative repetitions. The composers rather express themselves by gradual changes of certain individual notes or entire figures. Minimal Art produces several pieces which use repetitions whose components do not change. Initially the repetitive moment is the most striking feature of Minimalist music. At the beginning of their Minimalist-oriented period many Minimalist composers work with highly repetitive patterns, like Philip Glass, who concentrates basically on repetition and static harmony for the electrically amplified violin in his composition Strung Out (1967). While Glass tends to vary the repetitions, Steve Reich employs this musical technique for his audiotape compositions and his piece Piano Phase (1967) in a continually unaltered way.
'The Englishman Michael Nyman and the founder of the Scratch Orchestra, Cornelius Cardew (born in Gloucester in 1939, died in London in 1981), are the most important European representatives of Minimalism. In his compositions Nyman primarily uses historic models and exposes them to never-ending repetitive procedures which vary only insignificantly. In Minimalism repetition does not mean an approximation to inartificiality in the sense of Popular music, but rather creates a visual rhythm or specific motion models. Repetition creates patterns either according to an exactly defined plan or by chance. The first way usually means employing mathematical logical processes and takes place in an environment of which the artist is fully aware, while the final result of the second way, a random process, is not directly predictable.
'Repetition is seen as one of the central characteristics of Minimalism but at the same time it is defamed as monotony or a consequence of a lack of originality. Minimalists are commonly accused of only seeking to disguise the centripetal force in music that inclines towards monotony. By the end of the 1970s at the latest, the term Minimalist is used more frequently as a swearword than as an art term. Nevertheless, retrospectively it is the expressionism that is to a large extent held responsible for the cultural setbacks during the Reagan era, while Minimalism in the 1960s, despite its restrictivity, allows for various cultural flows to develop. By restricting the material and the possibility of its modification, the criticised repetition inevitably leads to a Minimalist principle, even if some artists regard repetition as an independent movement. The composer Louis Andriessen (born in Utrecht in 1939) argues that for him the repetitive moment is always more important than the so-called Minimalism.' -- Christian Schrei
Terry Riley 'In C' (1964) (excerpt)
Steve Reich 'It's Gonna Rain' (1965)
Steve Reich 'Come Out' (1966)
Philip Glass 'Music with Changing Parts' (1970)
Gavin Bryars 'Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet' (1971)
Michael Nyman 'Time Lapse' (1985)
p.s. Hey. As a reminder, tomorrow you will get a lovely new post, but no p.s. because I'll be tooling around in Bruges, and then the post plus p.s. combo will return on Thursday, whereupon I will catch up with the comments that have arrived between now and then. ** Misanthrope, Makes utter sense, the new vs. old thing. Car-wise, at least. I know that I don't need to repeat the hoary but, I guess, true old rule of thumb that not always getting what one wants is a good preparer. It would be good for the Neph to learn to want you to get what you want, even at his minor expense or something? The Undertaker is back? Why did you ..., what the ... ? Well, yay! ** David Ehrenstein, Gotta get those Gaddis letters. Whoa, re: 'Ganja and Hess'. Never heard of that or of Gaddis' turn. What a weird sounding combo that is. I'll try Youtube, et. al. ** Cobaltfram, Welcome, err, home. I'll check those Adams links asap. I've got a train to catch too soon to do it soon. Oh, wait, I saw 'Shaker Loops'. And a chunk of 'The Death of Klinghoffer' on video. Okay, right, I'm remembering now. Awesomeness supreme about you and Chris getting along so well. I'm searching through possible ideas/ways to turn the novel into something. I have one big, overriding idea, but I'm not ready to talk about it yet. I think it will need to have some degree of autobiography in it, but I'll probably need to find some kind of fictional or 'fictional' construct to house it in maybe. Doesn't make you a pussy, no. Mornings have their own special requirements. Eternally crossed fingers re: the book's rounds until you give me the great word. ** Alan, Hi, Alan! I already tried that. That approach was one of my failed rescue attempts. The problem was that it just made the central problem of my inability/ unwillingness to write autobiographically about myself worse. But there are some bits and pieces of that failed attempt that might be useful as meta elements if I can figure the novel out anew, I don't know. And how are you? ** Sypha, Ramsey Campbell, I know that name. Hm. I think maybe my mom read books by him, if that's possible? ** Grant maierhofer, Hey, man. Very nice post on Michael Kimball. I still have to read his latest one. Everyone, Mr. Grant Maierhofer has made a terrific post over on HTMLGIANT about the terrific writer Michael Kimball that I highly recommend you visit and devour today. This way. Oh, yeah, I was looking over that Criticism kerfuffle thing betwixt Chris H, ADJ, and those who comment on HTMLG this morning while coffeeing. I don't know. I always really like Higgs' brain and stuff, so I guess that's where I stand or something. That tank/sound art thing sounds, you know, really interesting. My brain did a somersault, so I hope that pans out so you can do/write that, man. ** Will C., Yeah, I tried to figure out how to do it yesterday, but, as is the case with all really good ideas, nothing crystalized right away. Never seen 'Girls'. If it's American TV from the past six years or so, I don't know it. I've seen three episodes of 'The Walking Dead', two episodes of 'Mad Men', a handful of French dubbed episodes of 'Breaking Bad', and ... that's about it. It sure is getting a lot of talk, that's for sure. 'Girls', I mean. So bad that it's great ... I'll have to think. Everyone, help out a fellow d.l., specifically Will C., by suggesting some movies that are so bad they're good for him to watch. Will you? Thank you. ** Rewritedept, I'm so sorry about your shittiest of all weeks. I hope the whole thing pivots either today or while you were asleep last night. My weekend was good. I finally saw Iceage play live last night, and they were even more phenomenal than I had imagined. Holy shit. Very highly recommended. Yeah, this week up through Monday is crazed in the best possible way, for me at least. I'm only going to be home in Paris for one day. I hope my busy week infects yours. ** Steevee, Cool about the Ozon interview. I didn't catch his latest when it was here. Sarah Polley, cool. Thanks for link. I'll have to read it later. Everyone, from Steevee: 'Following up our Houston hip-hop day, here's an excellent article on DJ Screw.' ** Chilly Jay Chill, Really, about its massiveness? I'll try to agenda-cize it. Oh, yes, Blanchot's 'unworking' theory was absolutely massive for me. It's central to what I'm trying to do. It in combination with Bresson's theories on a work's construction are virtually always a starting point for me. If I end up diverging with certain novels, it's by necessity and reluctantly. Probably obviously, the reason I'm happiest with 'TMS' and 'MLT' is because I think I found a way to implement my highest goal most purely and well in those cases, but I think it's pretty there and at work in almost all of my books, if not even all of them. I'm excited that your reading about that. What does that theory do in regards to your own theories or notions about fiction construction? ** Statictick, Ha ha, if I gave the escort and slave posts a rest, I think the blog's traffic would probably drop by half or something. Moms will have to deal twice a month, I guess. Okay, cool, yeah, tell me what happened after my traveling stint is done 'cos I will be more concentrated then, for sure. Love to you too, bud. ** Chris Cochrane, Mr. Cochrane! Good morning! Cool re: Wednesday recording session, and, okay, I'll get that CD, or, wait, stream it? I'll figure it out. How can I tell what tracks you are on? I'll look at the thing more thoroughly when I don't have an impending train. Gisele, and I guess me too, is/are doing a production of 'Rite of Spring' in, like, I think two years? Thanks about my travels. Should be safe. Should be great, I think. Take good care. ** Chris Dankland, Hi, Chris. Cool, thanks, about the eBooks post. Really good stuff there, obviously. James Bridle ... no, maybe I've never heard of him. Not sure. No, I think not. His interest in the collaborative relationship between artist and audience very much intrigues me since I think about that relationship all the time and as intricately as I can when I write. Great, I will definitely go investigate him courtesy of those links. Thank you a lot! Festo Air Penguins! Holy shit! That's amazing! Everyone, follow Chris Dankland's lead and meet Festo Air Penguins. Really, seriously, do. May a great Tuesday fall upon your 'hood. ** Dynomoose, You don't even need a kindle. Click in the appointed spot on anything, and they're right there. Ha ha, nice link. If the train has Wifi, and I think it does, that's how I will some minutes. Okay, what exactly is the Girl Scout Cookie situation? Tell me, tell me. ** 5STRINGS, You're living the life right now. Don't get rolled or whatever. Rolled in the bad sense. Life is fucking beautiful. Well, my sliver of it is. I totally agree. ** Billy Lloyd, I think you and your mother absolutely should, of course. And I think it should become a chain venture, reaching far flung lands like France and even further flung, making you guys mega-rich and making the likes of people like me mega-happy. And I guess fat too. Hm, on second thought, ... Thank you about my week. What's up with your week? ** Okay. Yeah, so, the post. I like it, obviously, but do you? The blog will refresh tomorrow without me particularly there to add my two cents, and then it will refresh again with me back on immediate board come Thursday. See you then.
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 12:08 AM