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Al Bregman's Comments on April 29 Concerning Dichotic Verbal Transformations

Dear Al:

I agree with your analysis that serial processing could not explain the
independent verbal transformations heard with dichotic stimulation
involving the same word delivered with a 1/2 period delay to the two
ears.  As you say, there must be a preattentive stage that operates on
concurrent auditory streams in parallel.  The problem is -- if there is a
problem -- that it seems to conflict with the conventional view that we
have a single engram, cell assembly, node, or whatever, acting as the
final stage for identifying a particular word.

I don't believe that it is necessary to extract phonetic categories, as
you suggest, to hear illusory words.  The reason I say this is because
the words reported by adult monolingual English speakers are almost
always syllables that are themselves English words or that occur in
English words.  The direct accessing of an English syllabary would be a
simple explanation of this.

Finally, I concur with your expectation that any two segregated speech
streams, even when appearing at the same location, would be subject to
independent verbal transformations when repeated.  Indeed, some
unpublished observations Jim Bashford made with concurrent high-pass and
low-pass speech confirmed this effect.

Best regards,