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Re: meaning / Gibson

At 03:44 PM 3/1/01 +0000, you wrote:
I remember that Stephen McAdams and Emmanual Bigand's book "Thinking in Sound" mentioned a reference for an ecological approach to sound, -Micheals and Carello, I think. but I no longer have the reference to hand.
Peter Lennox

Michaels & Carello (1981), Direct Perception, is a great book but pretty dated. It came out just before the explosion of experimental work in Direct Perception occurred. A journal, Ecological Psychology, was launched in the late 80s. There are many articles in there on the perception of things and events as specified by acoustic information (i.e., not just "auditory perception"!).

I don't have a list of them, but I do have a couple handy. Try the first for refs to all the others:

Kunkler-Peck, A. J., & Turvey, M. T. (2000). Hearing shape. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 26, 279-294

Russell, M. (1997). Perceiving distances of nearby sound sources: An investigation of Marler's canonical features of locatable sounds. Ecological Psychology, 9, 299 - 322.

Russell, M., & Turvey, M. T. (1999). Auditory perception of unimpeded passage. Ecological Psychology, 11, 175 - 188.

Of course, Haskins Labs (associated with U. Connecticut's Centre for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action) continues to spearhead Browman & Goldstein's approach of articulatory gestures in speech perception and production. This is a dynamical systems-based approach to direct perception, as Gibson would have said. Carol Fowler at Haskins is a major player there.

Try this for links:

Our own work is taking the gestural basis of language hyothesis seriously and looking at the coupling of manual and speech gestures, hoping to make sense of speech timing in terms of the dynamics of coupled oscillator-inspired models. Given that the *acoustic* signal as normally conceived does not seem to hold the relevant information for speech perception/segmentation/etc (comments invited!) - just think coarticulation and contex effects - then the information might reside at a rather different level. The gestural approach says to look at *production* (in the speaker) and see whether a different kind of description - of the dynamics of speech/gestural production - can give insight into the dynamics of speech perception.

Meaning? Meaning is *not* in the head!! How could it be?! Simple argument:
The meaning is perceived when the information is detected. Since the information specifies an event in the world, the "meaning" (consequences, implications, etc) is at least in the dynamical interaction of speaker and listener. But certainly they are not in representations inside the  listener's head alone! For those who balk, try Michaels & Carello (1981) "Direct Perception" (out of print) for a clear introduction to the evolutionary theory-inspired logic of Gibson's direct perception approach to apprehension of meaningful things.



Paul Treffner, PhD
Motor Coordination & Dynamics Laboratory
School of Physiotherapy & Exercise Science
Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus
PMB 50, Gold Coast Mail Centre
QLD 9726, Australia
tel. +61 7 5552 8215
fax: +61 7 5552 8674