Re: Research proposal (at)

Subject: Re: Research proposal
Date:    Sun, 20 Sep 1992 22:41:23 -0400

State University of New York at Stony Brook Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500 Arthur G. Samuel Psychology 516 632-7792 20-Sep-1992 10:24pm EDT FROM: ASAMUEL TO: "Albert Bregman, Tel: 514-398- ( _(at) ) SUBJECT: RE: Research proposal Al, I like the general approach you are suggesting -- the "pre-emptiveness" claim of the speech module theorists is both strong and testable. I think a critical aspect of the test is one that you referred to, but did not yet have a handle on: The results are likely to depend on the extent to which the complex is heard as a "whole". To the extent that your speech bias is successful, you are likely to induce listeners to hear such good forms, and thus to have less access to the lowel-level components. Therefore it is critical to induce such a set in the nonspeech group, and I fear that it may be very difficult to do so, at least to do so as well as the speech. I have one idea in this regard: Perhaps you could follow the strategy the Dick Pastore's group, and that Carol Fowler's group, have taken in the duplex perception phenomenon. You could perhaps construct some sort of "sine-wave analogs" of a nonspeech sound, such as a particular timbre contrast (e.g., a cello and a trumpet, filling similar roles to the "ba" and "da" you might be using in the speech part of the experiment). The idea is that just as you could induce a speech set for the speech analogs, you could induce a musical timbre set for the music analogs. Then, you could look for the same sort of threshold change for the music set as is predicted for the speech set by the modularists. Of course, if you could really control the nonspeech set to be as good a form as the speech, this music condition would not be needed. I suggest it because I am doubtful that such a match will be easy to attain. This music condition leads me to your question about interpretation. I guess there are two points here. First, the methodological point raised above can be thought of as a theoretical point -- if the critical variable is the "goodness" of the complex percept, then the speech case may be about as good as it gets. The second point is that from a theoretical perspective of someone like Fowler, you might get the same effect that All Liberman would predict, but for rather different theoretical reasons: Fowler would, I think, predict the music result I've suggested, while Liberman would not. In any event, I like the direction you are going with this -- good luck. Arty Samuel

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