Sunday, August 14, 2011

Remembering: Just close your eyes to block out that distracting sound in the background or pronunciation

Clip art: Clker
Here is (an abstract only of) a study by Perfect, Andrade and Eagan (2011) which demonstrates that under certain conditions, closing the eyes effectively blocks out background/environmental  auditory clutter (in this case.) The technique seemed to enhance or at least protect both visual and auditory recall. Earlier posts have reported on research related to the impact of eye closure (or purely haptic, nonvisual engagement) on encoding, showing a parallel effect. It is as if once the eyes have done their part in establishing an object's properties or pattern, in some contexts or stages, it may be better to carefully limit further, potentially distracting gaze.

Most disciplines deal with directed eye engagement in some form, especially in expert practice and performance. That can be done any number of ways from full closure to fixed positions in the visual field. (I'm sure you have students who, themselves, use similar strategies at times. Regardless, the implication for pronunciation instruction is intriguing: To get or recall the optimal auditory felt sense of a sound, simply cut out external auditory interference. That appears to be relatively easy . . . you can  do it with your eyes closed!

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