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Diana Deutsch's April 29 Comments Concerning Illusory Changes in Repeated Words
I am sorry that Diana Deutsch believes that my statement on April 28
concerning her CD demonstration of the "high-low illusion" represents an
attempt to claim credit for its discovery. I have made no such claim.
But I did indicate that her illusion occurring when the words "high" and
"low" are repeated is a variant of the verbal transformation effect.
Deutsch's comments on the relation of E.B. Titchener's and B.F. Skinner's
work to verbal transformations referred to my article in J. Audio Eng.
Soc., 1983, 31, 623-629. In that article and elsewhere I stated that
Titchener and Skinner together could provide a basis for the verbal
transformation effect. Titchener reported that words repeated to oneself
are subject to "verbal satiation" and lose their meaning. This is not
verbal transformation. Skinner reported that listeners hearing a
recording of indistinct speech sounds repeated over and over experience
"verbal summation" and hear illusory organization into meaningful words
and phrases (had he left the recording on after their first response he
would have discovered verbal transformations). What I found was that a
recording of any syllable, word, or phrase, whether distinct or
indistinct, appears to change abruptly to other syllables, words, or
phrases. These changes continue to occur as long as the stimulus stays
on, apparently through the verbal satiation of the form being perceived,
together with verbal summation leading to an alternate form. This form
then is subject to verbal satiation in its turn, resulting in a
continuing succession of changes.