Magdalene H. Chalikia
William J. Stech
Dept. of Psychol., Moorhead State Univ., Moorhead, MN 56563
When hearing a word which is continuously repeated, listeners report that the word seems to change into different forms and then vacillates among these forms. This auditory illusion has been called the verbal transformation effect [R. M. Warren, Br. J. Psychol. 17, 249--258 (1961)] and is considered to be caused by the lack of verbal context, produced by the repetition. This study further investigated the role of context in the interpretation of auditory stimulation. Twenty-six listeners heard the individual, continuous, repetition of six stimuli: an English sentence, an English word, and a Chinese word (each played forward and backward). It was assumed that listeners will report verbal transformations with all stimuli except the English sentence, since only this condition contained sufficient contextual cues. Results showed that both forms of the English sentence were treated in the same manner, and that significantly more verbal transformations were reported with the words.