Monday, August 3, 2009

Audio Illusions

[from Joel] We've previously spoken of optical illusions in the hope of differentiating L/C minds. While dog-sitting at my daughter's house yesterday, we took the opportunity to wash some clothes. While the machine was running, I tried to do some plastering around the new shower. I had to stop after awhile because the washer was driving me crazy. It kept repeating "Running bear. Running bear. ........" I'm sure you've all had that kind of experience. It recalled to me camping in a tent and being awakened in the morning to the cooing of doves that repeated over and over, "You're so damned stupid. You're so damned stupid." If you search the web you'll find among other sites the following one:

A most interesting one is "Phantom Words", a repeated sound that eventually become a word in your own mind. When I played it this morning, all three dogs snappped to attention and a normally silent dog began to bark.

Although most auditory illusions refer to music, some are based on "defects" in our mental interpretation of sound into words. It would be interesting to be able to separate L-minds from C-Minds in this way, or at least as an IQ test that would distinguish intellect from indigestion. -Joel

On a tree by a river a little tom-tit
Sang "Willow, titwillow, titwillow"
And I said to him, "Dicky-bird, why do you sit
Singing 'Willow, titwillow, titwillow'"
"Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?" I cried
"Or a rather tough worm in your little inside"
-Gilbert and Sullivan (apologies to Ira)


Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks for the new Topic. As the instructions say, you MUST listen with stereo headphones (or a really good stereo speaker system).

Some illusions were lost on me due to my lack of musical appreciation and knowledge. However, I found the Phantom Words facinating, first hearing "no way" then "go win" and (briefly) "Darwin".

The Falling Bells, Barbershop, Matchbox and Quickening Beat were also good.

Perhaps we could distinguish L- from C-minds by showing a photo of Reagan (or other C-hero) or Obama (or other L-hero) and play Phantom Words and judge if the message heard is positive or negative.

Ira Glickstein

joel said...

What would make me happier is to have two different reactions to the same audio stimulus and then to discover that people with one reaction are of one political bent while those with the other reaction are of the opposite leaning. At first that may seem like the same test that you propose.

It's a question of causality or at least the appearance of causality. I think that audio interpretation is hard wired and developed through practice at a very early age. Political leaning is sophisticated result influenced by the way our perception system and thinking processes work. Hence, political leaning is an effect not a cause (at least in my view). -Joel

Ira Glickstein said...

Do you have any idea on how we could do what you propose, Joel? I think the Phantom Words is a good possibility, but some of the others in the link you provided -or some that we don't know about yet- may also be possible.

Perhaps the best test would be a photo of the current speaker of the house and her voice?

Ira Glickstein