Re: Silence (Stephen Grossberg )

Subject: Re: Silence
From:    Stephen Grossberg  <steve(at)CNS.BU.EDU>
Date:    Wed, 5 Mar 2003 21:07:43 -0500

Dear List, Various data about speech perception show that whether silence or continuous sound are perceived depends upon the context: In one context, a fixed silent interval may be perceived as silence, but the same silent duration may be perceived as filled with sound in a different context. Some articles that summarize these data and attempt to explain how silence may be contextually perceived can be downloaded from These are the articles: Grossberg, S. and Myers, C.W. (2000). The resonant dynamics of speech perception: Interword integration and duration-dependent backward effects. Psychological Review, 107, 735-767. Grossberg, S., Boardman, I., and Cohen, C. (1997). Neural dynamics of variable-rate speech categorization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 23, 418--503. Steve Grossberg >Dear List, >I received an inquiry from someone asking about the perception of >silence. >Specifically: > > "How is silence perceived in a musical context? Is > the listener's 'attitude' changed when a rest unfolds in > music? or, are sounds and silences so linked in music to > enable us to distinguish the two?" > >I am not able to further clarify her questions, so I offer them as >received. Any thoughts? > >Harold Fiske, PhD >Faculty of Music >University of Western Ontario >London, Ontario CANADA

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